A mediation for the baptism of my third granddaughter, June Annwyn Marie Tollefson.

Ephesians 5:8: You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the world; walk as children of Light.

It’s a good Sunday for a baptism. In many churches, today, the third Sunday of Advent, is Gaudete Sunday, named for the Introit of the Latin Mass – Gaudete in Domino semper , rejoice in the Lord always. By her baptism, June enters into joy because in baptism she enters the temple of the Spirit who gives joy.

We have been considering light, and that’s fitting for a baptism too. By baptism, we participate in Jesus, the Light who burns with the oil of the Spirit, so we too are God’s light in the world.

In Scripture, light and joy are not separate topics.

When Esther delivers the Jews, there is light and gladness and joy. John the Baptist is a burning lamp, and for a time people rejoice in his light. “Light is sown like seed for the righteous,” the Psalmist says, “And gladness for the upright in heart.”

Light is joy; light also is beauty. “Arise, shine, your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon her,” Isaiah sings. Simeon greets the Christ as “a light of revelation to the Gentiles” and “the glory of Your people Israel.” The God who spoke light out of darkness shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Light is beauty of a peculiar sort. We can’t see a stunning landscape or a vivid painting in the dark. Light is beautiful in that it makes other things beautiful. I admit my bias, but I think June is beautiful. As a child of light, she is called above all to radiate the humble, joyful beauty that beautifies everything and everyone around her.

June Annwyn Marie is named for the mother of Jesus. By her baptism June is called to shine with the light of joy and beauty that she shares with her namesake. By her baptism, she is called to trust the God of Mary, the God of Marah, who turns all bitterness to joy, all darkness to light, all shame to glory.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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