I was not really in favor of baptizing Oskar. It’s not that I think baptism of babies is the work of the devil (like this guy here). And I do not think that a Christian baptism is a terrible thing to do to a child. In fact, I cherish the values and the services of the Christian church (if at all, I think that the church is not smart enough when it comes to attracting young people except the ones that look like they’ll be beaten up in school on Monday). But I do think it is in general preferable to let a person choose the faith they’d like to have when they are old enough to make an informed decision.
Now, Lamia had more of an inclination to have Oskar baptized and in the end my mom came up with an idea that worked for everybody: why not ask Volkhard? Volkhard is retired now, but he was the priest in our village in Germany for many years, a friend of the family and I have always considered him an exceptional priest. Him agreeing to baptize Oskar felt “right” to me, just because of the values he represents, his energy, his kindness and simply the person he is. And when my mom asked whether he’d come out of retirement for Oskar, Volkhard happily agreed and I am truly grateful for that, because – spoiler alert – it turned out to be a wonderful baptism.
The service was done in Aldingen’s Margaretenkirche, the very same church I myself got baptized at.
And despite Oskar’s fever and my worries that he would be screaming and crying all the time he was mostly in a good mood. He walked around happily before and diligently took a leaflet apart during the service. Oskar seemed to be comfortable in the church, and the only time he was afraid for a moment was just before the service when everything calms down and than all of a sudden the sound of the organ fills the church. He was then walking around in the nave, made a surprised jump and quickly ran back to Maman and Papa.
Throughout the service he was complaining only a few times, but then either Lamia or myself got up and carried him which was enough for him to be happy again. He was also quite okay with the actual baptism, though it seemed to be important to him to have his favorite little comb being baptized, too (you can nicely see this in the video).
Volkhard did such a memorable service for us.
And I appreciate this even more, given that he is not in the best of health.
As it is tradition, Oskar got a little paper flower with his name on it which normally stays in the church on a tree for the course of the church year. In our special, longhaul flight case (and given we were close to the end of the previous church year) we were allowed to take that flower home with us right away.
The same person who kindly made that flower also gifted us with a guardian angel for Oskar, with the comment:
Person whose name I forgot: This is a guardian angel for Oskar. But it will break if he drops, so don’t let him play with it.
I also have a photo of the baptism candles.
We had two, because there was the one my dad arranged and one that Nagi got from Rome. And because Protestants are the “hip” Christians, Volkhard had no concern whatsoever to use both candles during the service, of course.
Finally a photo of the family with Volkhard (a little hidden between my parents).
After the service we all had a little to eat and drink at the Mühle, where we were surprised by a few more presents, which was very sweet. Thank you everybody for joining us and Oskar on this day.
Also, special thanks to Alex, for taking the photos, and to Yann, for shooting the movie!