Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

I saw it again while I felt a steadying breath against my chest, the rising, filling, the exhale and falling into my arms, tiny thin hair brushing my face, tiny fingers on tiny hard wrapping around my shoulder.

We were in church this morning, a church where we have been since my own two children were small enough to hold in my arms. I remember holding them in my arms while the voices around us, breathing, inhaling and exhaling, collectively held the tune of the hymn.

The occasion this morning was the Sunday after the Epiphany, a celebration in the Western Church (Roman Catholic, Protestant) that has generally been about the arrival of the Magi, this moment of following and seeing this “newborn king”. In the Eastern Church (Orthodox), there was a different sort of “I see it” moment, one involving Jesus coming forward to be baptized by John the Baptist.

This morning, we were there to become godparents to another daughter of our friends. The first godchild rested in my arms, now two years old. My body swayed side to side, my hand instinctively moved to her back, to pat in the same circular fashion that I patted my own children.

The godchild-to-be rested in her parents' arms, waiting for the water to be poured, blessed, for her tiny body to enter it three times, to begin her journey with God, in the context of her parents, her grandparents, her godparents, and a community of faith all around her as she entered the waters of baptism.

One of the passages that we read this morning was the beginning of Genesis, where God moved over the waters of the void, bringing order and life, beginning a relationship with this world, calling everything that this God saw in this world into being, saying “It is good.”

These words are echoed in what God says to Jesus at his baptism. “This is my beloved child in whom I am pleased.” You are good.

And as I held this little one in my arms, singing songs about water, about blessing, and simply breathing with her, I could not help but feel that these journeys through water, through blessing, through holding, that it is good.

We remain blessed in the context of the relationships around us; we are blessed by the relationships around us.

We are also God’s beloved. And God says to us, it is good.

clinical social worker, spiritual director, author, husband, father, son, runner in Georgia, co-author of When Anxiety Strikes from Kregel Publications.