Advent devotion: Samantha’s baptism
Advent, the beginning of our church year, is a time to prepare for the annual celebration of the birth of Our Savior. Remembering the miracle of Christ’s birth reminds me to pay attention to the daily miracles that are evidence of God’s grace and continued presence in my family’s life, even as we lament the horror of extremist violence and reprisal around the world.
On December 26, we will celebrate the baptism of our first grandchild, Samantha Joy Teeravechyan, at St. Paul. Our daughter Maggie and husband Jo live in Chicago, which allowed us to be present for Sammie’s birth and for frequent visits to witness and take joy in her rapid development. Between visits, we have the miracle of FaceTime and social media, the next best thing to being there. I marvel at this compelling Thai-Chinese-German-Irish child, who so immediately enriched our lives even as we all struggled with the familiar rhythms of day-night reversal in those first postpartum weeks.
Our son Adam, Sammie’s godfather, will be home for the baptism. He is a lieutenant junior grade and damage control officer on the destroyer USS Mustin, part of the Third Fleet stationed in Yokasuka, Japan. The Mustin has been the most active ship in the U.S. Navy recently – not surprising with all of the unrest in that part of the world – so we were especially gratified that he will be able to come home for 10 days beginning December 17.
Samantha’s great-grandmother, Margarete Goetz, will also be present at the baptism. She is able to regularly worship at St. Paul thanks to the availability of the Saturday evening service, where we are weekly delighted by the music ministry. We strive always to get to church in time for Chris Nelson’s prelude, and we stay rooted in the pews through the postlude. Margarete, who grew up in Germany and has heard some of the world’s greatest organs, pronounces St. Paul’s organ – and organist – among the very best. Thanks to all who work so diligently to select hymns to deepen our reflection on the liturgy. Thanks most of all to all the pastors, staff and people of St. Paul, whose support and community make possible our marvelous worship experience.
Frank Claudy is the physician advisor for Genesis Health System. He and his mother-in-law, Margarete Goetz, usually attend the Saturday service.