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Biblical meaning of Baby Dedication

Children are a gift from God. Psalm 127:3 says that “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.” As believers we are called to recognize that children belong first and foremost to God. God in his goodness gives children as gifts to parents. They not only have the awesome responsibility of caring for this gift, but also the wonderful privilege of enjoying the gift. Because children belong to God and are given by grace as gifts to parents, it is only proper and appropriate that children be dedicated back to God. In the Bible we read that people brought little children and babies to Jesus so that he might place his hands on them and pray for them.

In the Old Testament (1 Samuel 1) Hannah presented her son Samuel to the Lord. In the New Testament (Luke 2:22) we read that Mary and Joseph brought their baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem in order to present him before the Lord. Also, in the Gospels we read that people brought little children and babies to Jesus so that he might place his hands on them and pray for them. In the same way, Moms and Dads today bring their children, presenting first themselves and then their son or daughter before the Lord.

It’s exciting whenever a new child enters a family. There’s no greater moment when parents sense that children are a gift from God. In these joyful moments, pastors have the privilege of sharing how parents can express their full appreciation to God through baby dedication.

Dedicating a child acknowledges God’s sovereignty not only over the child, but also Mom, Dad or any primary caretakers. Parents present their child before God and His people asking for grace and wisdom in carrying out their responsibilities. Parents also come praying that their child might one day trust Jesus Christ as Savior for the forgiveness of sin and build their own personal relationship with Him.

The purpose and meaning of baby dedication comes to us from Deuteronomy 6:4-7. First, it commands parents to love God; if they truly wish for their child to one day love and follow God, their lives must be an example.

Second, Deuteronomy makes clear that the duty of teaching children belongs to parents; Children’s Church can provide weekly instruction, but parents must seize the teachable moments that arise throughout life. Explain the value of prayer (for example, repetitious prayers like “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .”) at meal times and before bed is an example.

Finally, the church makes a vow as well. There’s an old proverb that says “it takes a village to raise a child.” Parents have first responsibility. But parents need the help and support of the community, especially their church family.