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Celebrate your second birthday every year

“Wade in the water, wade in the water children. Wade in the water, don’t you know that God’s gonna trouble the water.”

Cake. Ice cream. Balloons. They’re the stuff that birthday dreams are made of. Your birthday is considered your “special day,” the first day of your life. But is it really the most significant day of your life? For some, yes. But for others, there is another day that marks the beginning of such “new life.” It is the day of their baptism.

Baptism is the door to Christian life. It is the sacrament of spiritual rebirth. The baptized person is incorporated into Christ, and cleansed of all sins through the use of appropriate ritual words and the symbolic action of washing with water. They become a member of the Mystical Body and receive the graces of supernatural life.

Well, I went to the water one day to pray.

Don’t you know that God’s gonna trouble the water.

And my soul got happy and I stayed all day,

Don’t you know that God’s gonna trouble the water.

Lyrics from an old African-American Spiritual

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups quick oats

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350°.

Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine, and then add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to mixture. Stir in oats. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Cookie Angels

12 oatmeal cookies (can be homemade or pre-made cookies)

6 Reese’s® Peanut Butter Candy Mini-Pieces, cut in half

1 can white frosting

Food colorings of choice

24 Reese’s® Peanut Butter Chips and/or milk chocolate chips

1 sheet edible rice paper

12 gold-foiled chocolate coins

24 candy eyes

Edible glitter

White pastry bag with decorating tips 10, 103, 16, and 3

(Some ingredients can be purchased in any cake and candy supply store)

Frost cookies with frosting. Cut rice paper into angel  wings, and place to the top of the iced cookies. With a small amount of icing, place chocolate coin on top of cookie for halo (if the coin is too large, cut in half). Cut a mini-peanut butter cup in half for the face, and place under the coin leaving some of the coin showing for the halo. With tip #10 and pastry bag, pipe an L-shape for arms, and put a chocolate chip at the end for the hands. With tip #16, and a zig-zag motion, make hair around the peanut butter cup. Use tip #103, to form a ruffle around the cookie for the girl angel, and the #3 tip to make the vest for the boy angel. With a small amount of icing, place candy eyes on face. With #3 tip and red icing, make a smile. Sprinkle with white edible glitter.

Baptism Anniversaries

Mt. Zion Pastoral Center of Flushing is a community comprised of more than 60 families. Groups and families celebrate baptisms together, as a communal function. Godchildren or nieces and nephews who might share common baptismal dates actually share in celebration together. Heidi Krupp notes, “A former chaplain observed in his homilies and Bible study sessions that this is what it (baptism) is supposed to do – to set us apart as we are birthed into the family of God.”

Begun nearly 10 years ago, such recognition of baptismal anniversaries is both a regular part of individual celebration as well as a faith practice of the entire community at Mt. Zion. “I have four godsons and we will have cake and ice cream on their dates of baptism,” says Heidi. “I make a big posterboard and put different symbols on it referencing things like water, how we are baptized as priests, prophets and king. We pull out pictures of their baptisms and we recall the stories surrounding them. I remember how my niece (as a baby) could not take her eyes off the pascal candle. She kept her eyes on it during the entire ceremony.”

Heidi invites all Christians to remember their baptismal call. “Remember that we are called to be intercessors, to serve and be God’s spokespersons.”

Christine Jones of St. John Student Parish, East Lansing, also recognizes the date of baptism as a cause for celebration. “Right now, I do it for two of my nephews and one other family friend,” Christine says. “Next year, I’ll do it for my newborn daughter as well.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge their baptism into Christ’s family, as it shows that they are one of Jesus’ special children.”

Jones has a unique way to celebrate a baptism anniversary through the gifts she gives. “I always try to stick with the theme of water when buying presents as baptismal gifts to remind them of the importance of the sacrament,” she explains. “I have to make cards because I can’t find any anniversary cards for baptism.”

For Heidi and Christine, the sacrament of Christian baptism calls us to celebrate the familiar old refrain with new lyrics. For them, the lyrics are: Happy Baptismal Date to you! Happy Baptismal Date to you! Happy Baptismal Date to you! Happy Baptismal Date to you!