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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the Importance of Godparents

Before a few Sundays ago, I hadn't given much thought to just how important and influential godparents (or, Nounò and Nounà in Greek) are supposed to be in the Orthodox Church.  It was, after all, Godparent Sunday at our parish.

M's godfather and family have been attending a different parish lately, and we see them less frequently than we'd all like.  So when M's Nounò arrived halfway through Orthros, it shouldn't have surprised me to see M run full tilt from the chanters' stand to the narthex to give him a huge bear hug.  But I was surprised, until I remembered that M gives his Nounò a bear hug every time he sees him.  That's when it began to dawn on me what a special place a godparent should occupy in the life of his or her godchild.

The Children's Ministry had set up a craft for godparents and godchildren to do together after Liturgy.  T's godfather asked T if he'd like to go do the craft together, and T proudly went with him.  Nevermind that T's Nounò was the only godparent at the table and T was too young to even help with the craft.  I don't know who looked like he was enjoying himself more: T or his Nounò.  And the sweet message that T's Nounò wrote on the back of the icon they made together will forever remind me of the joy that such a simple activity brought to both of them.  Since T talks about his godfather all of the time, the icon can also serve as a concrete example of time they have spent together.

Sadly we live across the country from Z's godparents.  Still, we find little ways to stay in touch.  Z's godmother has responded kindly to every letter that Z has sent her.  Z treasures these little notes and saves them in a special, secret place.  And I try to respond to all of Z's questions about what her godmother is like--it helps to see pictures of the cakes she's decorated(she's pretty talented!) and her children on Instagram.

All of this is in the front of my brain these days, as we prepare for little G's baptism.  I'm so excited to be expanding our Orthodox family once again, and once again, I love and admire the godparents we have chosen.  We are terribly blessed to be surrounded by heroes in the faith for our growing family--people we see regularly who possess so many spiritual gifts: faith, generosity, humility, patience...  I could go on and on.

What a blessing we have so many nurturers for our precious little souls!

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