"Der HERR segne dich und behüte dich; der HERR lasse sein Angesicht leuchten über dir und sei dir gnädig; der HERR hebe sein Angesicht über dich und gebe dir Frieden."
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
With these words from Numbers chapter 6 our little baby Maya was dedicated on Sunday, January 1. This is a practice that we find very meaningful and important. It is something one only does a few times in life. It is a practice that finds its roots in Mark 10. The people are bringing their children to Jesus, and the disciples don't think that is a valuable usage of Jesus' time. The teacher is, after all, a very important and busy person. The Lord's response is to rebuke his disciples and to take the children in his arms and bless them.
A baby dedication is also a chance for us as parents to recognize our role. We are not owners of the child any more than we own our own bodies. We are stewards, entrusted by God to raise Maya in a way that honors Him.
This step also affirms our need not only for God and His gracious work in our family to transform our hearts, but we also confess our need to be in Christian community. It is the same in my own story, as well as in so many other stories I have heard from others. God uses the witness of parents and family members in childrens' lives, but He also uses voices out of his church to speak into young lives and hearts. Church isn't just important to "check a box", but it is a vital community that affirms and works alongside the discipleship that is happening inside the home. We need the examples of others around us and their faithfulness to strengthen our faith and bring the focus back to Christ. We will not be able to raise Maya in Christ without the church.
It was also wonderful to have Bethany's parents present for the dedication. My parents were there when Ellie was dedicated. Even though we live far away, we know the input, help and support we get from both sets of parents is vital. They have shaped us into who we are and continue to shape us. We are very thankful for them.