Yesterday, we dedicated Anna Kathryn to the Lord formally in front of our church family and friends. This was the outward ceremony to confirm in public what we did in our hearts many years ago, when Mark and I first started praying for a child. Our close friends Allison, David, and Maggie came with us and I am so glad they were able to share in this special day.
Of course, there was a bit of stress involved with the whole thing, as is typical with anything in my life that is ceremonial and/or overly planned. I got up extra early to make sure we had lunch cooking before we left and that we were all clean, pressed and dressed up. Unfortunately, Anna Kathryn decided to fill her diaper right about the time we needed to be getting her dressed. (I had waited until the last minute so she wouldn't get anything on her pretty silk outfit. Instead of the traditional white, embroidered christening gown I decided to dress Anna Kathryn in one of the silk outfits we bought for her in China. She wore a two piece pants outfit of bright pink and gold, with her pink, appliqued tiger slippers to match.) Since these things can't be rushed, we had to hang around a bit. We finally were able to dress her, shove her coat on and get out the door. We stopped by Allison's house to pick them up and we were on our way.
We managed to arrive 10 minutes early. That gave Anna Kathryn time to wave at lots of people before the service started. Church began and she did well through all of the singing. We sang lots of carols, which is all I want to sing at Christmas. We hadn't been able to check with the pastor before the service began to see when our part would happen but I figured it would be early on, for the sake of the squirmy baby.
After the praise and worship time, we moved into prayer. This was about 40 minutes into the service. Anna Kathryn had "helped" Maggie eat a pack of dried fruit and by now was ready to get on with things. I was, too. Plus her precious, traditional-for-Chinese-babies tiger slippers were too big and kept falling off, which was driving me crazy. She had already hung out in everyone's lap, and began to get noisy while folks were praying, so I took her into the narthex.
While we were out there, our pastor, a great guy, came rushing in. He hurriedly explained that all through the first part of the service he kept thinking that there was something he'd forgotten. Then he remembered... the baby dedication! He apologized and said we'd do it after the offertory. Hee hee! I was glad to go back into church after prayer time and tell Mark that we were next.
The other funny part to this was the candle... our church gives the family a candle that is lit during the dedication. Pink for girls, blue for boys. The pastor explains that the candle is a keepsake to be lit on the child's birthday every year. When they are old enough to ask about the candle, the parents tell them about how they were dedicated to God as an infant and it's another opportunity to tell our children about how much Jesus loves them. Well, the pastor didn't have an extra candle available so he had to wing it. Thank goodness Anna Kathryn is a girl, because he plucked the pink candle out of the Advent wreath, and now she has an extra special candle!
A few more pictures from the day (taken at a discreet distance, so a little dark):
Allison and David took some HILARIOUS snapshots later on, after lunch, of the girls in front of our tree. The combination of a three-year old and a one-year-old makes for entertaining photos, if nothing else! She posted them on her blog. I'm still cracking up over these.