We have a little Baptism "birthday" tradition in our family. We dig out the candle and light it, we sing a Baptism song with the person’s name inserted, sometimes we incorporate shell and water play, and we always talk about what God does in Baptism—forgives our sins, makes us part of His family and gives us the gift of faith.
Just before the birth of our third baby, we had a Baptism birthday in the house. As we lit the candle and sang the Baptism song and talked about what God does for us in Baptism, our oldest said “when the baby comes can it be in OUR family?!” We got lots of questions about the baby from our four-year-old that year, so I didn’t think that much of it and replied, “of course the baby will be a Walsh too.” And she said, “no, mom, I mean can the baby be in OUR family like GOD’S family?” As I said, “of course! The baby will be Baptized too and God will make him/her part of His family!” I stopped and thanked God for the faith He’d given to and been working in that sweet girl of ours.
God’s gift of faith started in that child at her Baptism when she was less than 3 weeks old and He has been growing it ever since. Sometimes, we grown-ups think in terms that are limiting of what God can do in the hearts of children. We think they cannot possibly understand who God is or the gifts that He gives. And to be sure, understanding is something we all lack. But faith and trust are gifts only God can give. They are gifts only He can grow through the work of the Holy Spirit. They are gifts that have no age requirement or limit. They are beautiful gifts that we simply receive with open hands and hearts.
As parents and grandparents, we get a front-row seat on what God is doing in the hearts of these children entrusted to us. From that vantage point, we get to see Him work up-close. What a privilege and blessing that is! Does that mean we sit back and do nothing while God works? No! Think of it more as an interactive experience. God also invites us to use our influence over their hearts to impress them with a love for Him. We can do that simply by talking about the things of God as we go about life, we get to pray with them and for them, we get to show them that He is worthy of our worship, honor, and trust. God has created just the right model to pass on faith when He made the family (in our houses AND God’s family). And He’s given us everything we need to seize the time we have with the children in OUR family.