The baptism of Princess Charlotte, the infant daughter of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate, was all over the news and on magazine covers.
And, although you may not admit it, weren’t you fascinated by what the English royal family was wearing at the christening? The hats, the dresses, the vintage christening dress and the baby pram – well, it was all just so captivating and picture perfect. So stylish!
If you Google Princess Charlotte’s christening, the results almost all focus on what everyone was wearing, including what the nanny was wearing and how she resembled Mary Poppins! It seems those in Australia were particularly baffled and put off about her outfit.
All this hyper focus on the clothing left me wanting more. Something more that spoke to the significance of baptism in our journey of faith.
In the website Christiantoday.org, I found my answer in portions of the homily attributed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who conducted Princess Charlotte’s baptismal service.
Archbishop Welby, when referring to the character of Charlotte’s ancestor, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, is quoted as saying:
“Such beauty of character begins with baptism, and is established in the habits of following and loving Jesus Christ; habits to be learned from parents and godparents, and the whole community of the church.”
I love this phrase, “beauty of character,” as used in this context. It conjures up so much more than the dresses, fascinator hats and the nanny’s droll outfit.
The publicity surrounding little Charlotte’s christening serves as an enduring reminder that this act of Christian obedience still matters a great deal. Although baptism is not necessary for salvation, it brings together families and impacts the lives of those baptized.
I consider how we live in times of publicized violence against Christianity, yet we can celebrate a christening of a sweet baby girl and think upon Archbishop Welby’s additional words spoken that day:
“Beauty is the implied prayer of the baptism service, beauty of life which brings true and eternal greatness. In such times as ours, those who suffer – such as the wounded or bereaved in Tunisia and other places – need lives of beauty around them; lives that share healing and hope, offering to all around them, both in times of light and darkness, a vision of a Christ-filled future.”
"Lives of beauty to share healing and hope" in times when the world seems rather dark and scary. When I combine these comforting words and consider the importance of baptism, I can’t help but be thrilled with the sight of these beautiful people in lovely clothes praying over and promising to encourage and support this child’s faith journey.
If you've ever been asked to be a sponsor or godparent in a baptism, did you recognize the significance of the promises you made in the life of that person?