I'm so glad that the parents decided to have their baby baptized today, on the first Sunday of Advent, the first DAY of Advent. It was an opportunity to again remember that faith is a gift bestowed on the unsuspecting.
She is three-months old, with sparkling eyes and a beautiful smile. And her mother said she loves baths, so she would be okay with with the water. And she was okay at first, but the water was cold, and that was a little shock, as well it might be. New life should not be too gentle.
Afterwards, we invited some of the children to come up and say hello. A few were too anxious to get to Sunday School to stop, but a few children, the smallest ones, by the way, just stared and stared into the new baby's eyes.
We finished putting together our book of stories, "Faith Passages," and offered it to the members of our congregation. 11 people shared stories of God in their lives.
And today was the Sunday we offer prayers for healing at the close of all of the services. So today, on the first Sunday of Advent, I anointed with oil a new baby, sealed her with the Spirit, and today, on the first Sunday of Advent, I anointed many and prayed for many kinds of healing.
Indeed, faith is a gift bestowed on the unsuspecting. And healing is a gift bestowed on the heart who yearns for it.