Living in a nation that has a rich Christian tradition, last Tuesday we had the chance to celebrate a holiday that we do not celebrate in America: The Baptism of the Lord. As you might have guessed, this is a celebration of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. While this holiday is new to Shannon and me, I discovered that a number of churches celebrate it, including the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches. Typically this holiday is celebrated along with the Epiphany in early January but in Ukraine where we are on the Gregorian calender, it is the last holiday in the winter holiday season.
How do you celebrate the Baptism of the Lord? We’ll, if you are walking down the street and you see someone you know or are acquainted with you say “Jesus is baptized” and they reply “in the Jordan River”. Many people will attend a service where priests will bless water for various uses. My men’s discipleship group decided we would celebrate by also undergoing a baptism of sorts, the immersion of our bodies in warm water at the Ukrainian banya, which is a mix of an American sauna and spa.
It has been bitter cold here recently and there has been plenty of snow (today we are on day five of single digits). The most creative commemoration Shannon and I have seen is this beautiful snow carving of the event in front of one of L’viv’s most significant churches. Thought you might enjoy it.
Shannon’s pregnancy is coming along nicely. The baby seems healthy and we have starting feeling the kicking. I tried to convince Shannon that I actually felt the first kick when we were hugging, but she isn’t buying it :). We have decided not to find out the sex of our kid until he or she is born. I have always want to run out of the delivery room and yell “It’s a ____”.
Look for an update on the Ukrainian presidential elections which are coming soon….