What is a CHILD DEDICATION?
It is a ceremony, a ritual, that welcomes your child into the world. It is one of the three “rites of passage” – along with marriage and death – that calls us to celebrate these most important events in any life. This wonderful happening should not be cherished in isolation – with the parents alone – but celebrated with family, relatives, and perhaps friends. It is often performed in one’s home or backyard or perhaps in a community center or larger space if those invited would call for such.
Who is present at the Child Dedication?
Who is privileged to come to this wonderful celebration? Certainly the parents and siblings of the child, often the grandparents, and sometimes other relatives and friends. Almost always there are two godparents or sponsors.
What happens in the ceremony?
The ceremony is filled with positive words. The ceremony is directed to the child and those in attendance rather than to the Divine. If one is a strong believer then it is certainly implied that God is present and the Divine can be mentioned as much as one wishes or not mentioned at all. This ceremony is for religious people as well as those who are more of a humanist persuasion. Everyone has the right to celebrate the birth of the child.
The words speak of the marvelous gift that this child brings to us. It speaks also of the hope that this child brings to our world, the responsibility that all present have to help the child to grow in a loving and searching way and challenges all present to reclaim their own dreams of the past.
Certain rituals can be part of the ceremony. Water might be sprinkled on the forehead of the child with the hope that this child may be like refreshing water to all s/he will encounter. A candle might be presented to the child with the prayer that this child may be a bright light in the world where this child live. A rose with the thorns removed reminds the child that they can bring beauty to the world but we will not always be able to remove the thorns and pain of life; we hope we will so raise this child that s/he may live happily and enrich the world in which they live, bringing their wonderful, unique gifts that the world so desperately needs.
A certificate is given to the child with their name, the name of the minister and the names of the godparents.
A child deserves--and we need to have-- such a celebration. It will certainly be remembered by all who are present.