In Korean culture, the first birthday of a child has a special meaning. As part of the celebration, various symbolic items are placed in front of the child, among them: a thread, meaning long life; money or rice cake, meaning riches; a book, meaning scholarship. Whatever item or items the child feels attracted to, touches and picks up, that will be in the child’s future.
With John, who later will be called the Baptist, there is not much guessing involved in respect to his future! Right after birth, the Holy Spirit touched his father’s tongue and Zechariah announced his son to be a prophet. And so it happened: John prepared the way for Jesus, introduced the baptismal rite, and prepared the people for Jesus’ message of salvation and forgiveness of sins.
Whatever will become of our children, we do not yet know when they are born. But even today, we follow John’s way of preparing the way of the Lord. We baptize our children into God’s salvation and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and thereby we make sure that they receive the biggest gift we can give them as soon as possible in their lives.
Holy Trinity, we thank you for the gift of Baptism. Help us grow as children of God. Amen. — KLB