Baptism Symbols- A baptism is an important first step into Christianity. Your child or loved one will be celebrating their baptism will bring joy to your families. It will also begin your child’s journey with God and Christianity. Whether your child is a baby, toddler or a young child, this will be a major part of their life. When you welcome a new member into your religion it is something to celebrate. When attending a baptism for your child or a loved one, it is important to understand the baptism symbols that goes along with the baptism itself.
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What is a Baptism Symbol?
A baptism symbol is a an item that is used to represent something pertaining to Christianity. This can be everything from why a child wears white during a baptism to what the baptism candle represents. Some baptismal symbols differ between the different religions in Christianity. It may also change due to region and family tradition. We are going to cover all of the most common symbols that you will see at a Christian baptism.
Why Do We Use Baptism Symbols?
Baptism symbols are used to honor a child’s journey into Christianity. Symbols like fire or light are used to represent life while colors are used tastefully to represent the purity of the child entering this religion. Symbols bring honor to the important messages that mean a lot to us during this baptismal journey.
These symbols are not only used in Baptismal ceremonies but in every Christian ritual and life moment. Weddings, funerals, joining the priesthood or nunnery are all examples of ceremonies that have religious symbolism.
Baptism Symbols That You Will See At A Baptism
There are so many baptism symbols that you will see during a baptism. They can differ from faiths. Generally, you will see these types of baptism symbols during a baptism. You will learn what these symbols are and what they mean to help you really appreciate the symbolism during one of the most important ceremonies during your child’s life.
Symbol Meaning: Holy Spirit
We see the dove in many symbols pertaining to Christianity. From Noah’s ark to stained glass pictures of this precious bird, The dove is honored often. If you look carefully, you will see the dove honored through out a baptism. A dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. When God has spoken, he comes in the form of a dove. When we see the dove present in a baptism, whether a physical dove or a dove in artwork, we know this is the Holy Spirit being present during this Baptism.
The dove coming down as the Holy Spirit is mentioned often in the Bible, but one of the most important quotes is found in Matthew 3:16. “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water and the heavens opened. Jesus saw the Holy Spirit descending as a dove that was lighting on him.”
As we have observed in the Bible, after Jesus’ baptism, he witnesses the Holy Spirit as a Dove. Your child will experience baptism similarly to the way Jesus experienced it.
Symbol Meaning: Life, the beginning of your Christian Journey, Being the light of the world.
The Baptismal candle is seen at a Baptism. It is presented to the parents and they light it when the baptism is taking place.
In some Christian religions, the candle will be ignited again during ones First Communion, Confirmation, Wedding and ultimately their death. The candle lighting is seen as a symbol as the person’s life and the candle is ignited during important religious ceremonies of their lives.
Other candles are used during the baptism are symbolizing light. Seeing that candle is to symbolize your baptized child being the latest light in the world. Well wishers would wish the child a long life where they flourish in the Christian religion.
White Baptismal Outfit
Symbolic Meaning: Purity
When a child wears a white baptismal outfit, it symbolizes purity entering the religion. The child is without sin and in most Christian religions, they have had the “original sin” wiped away through the baptismal ceremony. White symbolizes purity and the child enters their journey of Christianity without any sins or mistakes.
Symbolic Meaning: The protection from God and the entry into the religion.
The cross is the most important symbol in Christianity. Christians are reminded that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. Consequently, a cross is a very important symbol during a baptism. A cross represents God’s protection over the child being baptized and the ceremony. Secondly, the cross symbolizes the entry into Christianity. This is your little one’s first interaction with the cross as a reminder that Jesus died for their sins as well and that they will never be alone.
Baptizing The Child In Water
Symbolic Meaning: Divine Life
Jesus was baptized in the water by his cousin John the Baptist. Just like Jesus, each of us are baptized with water to connect with Jesus and his journey. It also officially brings the child into the Christian religion.
The baptizing in water means a divine life for your child. It also cleanses the child of original sin, which is what some Christian religions believe. With no sin, the water symbolizes a rebirth, a cleanse and a pure person entering the religion with Jesus.
Symbolic Meaning: Bringing a person and the Holy Spirit together.
Through out the Bible, it is mentioned repeatedly that the use of oil brings the Holy Spirit and a person together as one. Oil is used to anoint the the child into the religion and to bind them with the Holy Spirit.
Specifically, the Oil of Catechumens is used during a baptism. This oil is known traditionally to guide people away from evil temptations, sinful behavior and reject all evil.
Symbolic Meaning: The Holy Eurcharist
The Bible has a wonderful story about Jesus speaking to his listeners. There was not enough food and they could only gather a few loaves of bread and fish. As Jesus encouraged the disciples to continue sharing the food to the crowd, knowing there was not enough, a miracle happened. The few pieces of fish and bread was enough for the entire crowd.
The belief in the holy trinity (the Father, son and Holy Spirit) is an important part in many sects of Christianity. A fish represents all three of these important symbols. Fish is spoken of often in the Bible and Jesus’ miracle with the fish has been one of the most well known stories.
Symbolic Meaning: Baptism
Have you noticed at many baptisms a seashell is present? Sometimes, it is the basin that holds water to baptize a baby. Other times, we see it in artwork across the church. A seashell represents baptism itself. Apostle James used the seashell from a scallop to beg for food. James always found people would help him out throughout his journey.
The Sea Shell represents baptism itself because God and your fellow Christians will always be there to help you out along your journey.
Symbolic Meaning: Guides through Christianity, Guardians if parents pass away.
Being a Godparent is an honor but also bares a lot of responsibility. A Godparent is expected to guide a child throughout their life using Christian values as their base. They are there to give a Christian perspective on life’s ups and downs for their Godchild. A Godparent also takes on the task of becoming a guardian for the child if their parents are to pass away. In this rare event, the Godparent would continue raising the child in the Christian lifestyle. A Godparent is an important figure in their child’s life for their entire life, or at least until adulthood.
During a baptism, both godparents are announced and accompany the parents and the child to get baptized. Their names are recorded with the church. Both godparents have to be Christian so they can ensure to teach the Christian faith. Godparents are a symbol of guidance and second parents for the children in a Christian sense.
Symbolic Meaning: Faithful ascending to heaven.
In some baptisms, you may see incense. Incense has a great symbolic meaning. It symbolized the faithful Christians ascending to heaven. During a baptism, this facilitates and solidifies that all believers, including the recently baptized child will ascend into heaven when it is their time. Secondly, incense if used, can play a final role in the baptism ceremony and mean a lot to believing parents, family and guests of the baptism.
How To Gather All of These Symbols For A Baptism
Now that we have discussed all of the symbols for a baptism, how will you incorporate all of these symbols into a baptism? Luckily enough, the church will handle all of the symbols for the baptism except choosing the godparents and the baptismal gown or outfit. You and your partner will have to discuss who would make great godparents for your child. You will need to choose one male and one female or discuss with your parish your options and desires.
Finding a great baptismal gown or outfit does not have to be hard at all. A gown can be passed on from generation to generation which is very symbolic to families. Many families do this. If you do not have a gown or baptismal outfit to pass down, there are many adorable and appropriate options out there.
Where To Look For These Symbols In A Baptism
These symbols will be noticeable during the baptism. Firstly, the godparents are chosen by you or you and your partner. Secondly, the baptismal gown or outfit is chosen by you, so your child will be wearing this during their baptism. The candle will be given to you by the church and you and your partner have chosen the gown for your child. The Incense will be used through out the ceremony. You will see the rest of the symbols used through out the ceremony by a priest or pastor.
Look for symbols in stained glass, cloths, in officiants garments. Check for artwork and look at the details. You can also hear it in the Bible verses chosen and the sermon itself. Each symbol tells a story and plays a big role in the Bible and the Christian faith.
Tradition and Baptismal Symbols
Baptism symbols are rooted in tradition. Some of these traditions span for thousands of years. Everything has a meaning and you and your child are a part of these ancient traditions. Enjoy the day of baptism and relish in the fact that you are a part of something big and so great for your entire family.
Start Off The Baptism Right
Now that you are ready for the baptism and understand all of the important symbols during the ceremony, you can start reading Bible stories to your child. It is great to start them off young so they can grow into their religion, ask questions and be inspired. We have compiled all of the best Bible stories for small children. Finally, these will really start their knowledge and wisdom of this wonderful religion.