It is during the christening ceremony that you present your baby to Jesus Christ and to your church where it will be baptized, blessed and inducted into the Christian faith. It should ideally be an elaborate ceremony complete with all the necessary preparations including sourcing of the christening dress that is very necessary.
Preparation for christening is very involving and you need to start doing so well ahead of time. Just in case you are not conversant with your church’s christening rules, it is necessary to consult your pastor or priest to know how to go about what is involved. Note that there are churches that only baptize babies whose parents are registered members of their churches. There are also some that conduct the ceremony for babies whose parents are not members of other churches. In such cases, the parents concerned must obtain authority from their parent churches before a church can conduct the ceremony.
As part of your preparation, find out how the christening ceremony is conducted. While there are churches that conduct the ceremony as a private affair, there are those that conduct it during the regular church service, only sparing a few hours for the ceremony. In this case, it is conducted as a mass christening ceremony where several babies are baptized at the same ceremony. Still, there are churches that set aside a special day for the ceremony, which can be private or involve baptizing other babies as well. These are just some of the very important issues you need to find out.
The pre-baptismal counseling usually offered by churches is a very important occasion you should not miss. Just like in a pre-wedding counseling session, it is at the pre-baptismal counseling session that you will get to know what type of christening dress is accepted by your church. Note that different churches have different requirements when it comes to the christening dress and it is very important to ascertain the same in good time. It is also at the pre-baptismal counseling session where you will get to know the meaning and importance of the christening dress and what it symbolizes, in addition to such other issues as how to choose godparents for your baby, how the ceremony is conducted and the baptism dates available.
Godparents are special people during your baby’s christening ceremony. Just as in a wedding ceremony where best men and best bridesmaid are chosen so it is in a christening ceremony. Unlike in a wedding ceremony however, only one godparent is usually required in a christening ceremony. Apart from your baby’s christening dress, you will also need to budget for your baby’s godparent christening dress. Some churches however allow for two godparents. Godparents are usually men and women who have a good standing in the church and should ideally be older than you. The role of a godparent is usually life-long, helping you bring up your child in the Christian faith following your church’s guidelines. Note that the presiding pastor or priest will also be in an appropriate christening dress during the ceremony.
Most churches emphasize the need to have white christening dresses for the baby and godparent with color white symbolizing the purity and cleansing of the ceremony. Candles are usually lit at the ceremony (a responsibility of a godparent), a representation of Jesus Christ as Light of the world. Such candles are usually given to a baby’s parents after the ceremony.
Peter Jackobson works for one of the leading providers of christening dresses (interesting to know is that the Norwegian term is dåpskjoler) in Norway – Oli Prik.