I have done dozens of baby dedications in my decades as a pastor. In one sense, it is a family moment. Grandparents, aunt, uncles, god-parents, siblings all gather in the house of God to thank Heaven for the life bestowed into a young couple’s care and to return back to God His right to do with this child as He deems. It is both a photo-op moment and a ceremony of great significance. Truth be told, it is really not a baby dedication. It is a parent dedication. After all, the baby is there in a dress that he/she probably will never wear again. The parents are there to state publicly in the House of God before God and His people their intention to disciple their child in the ways of the Lord and to be the primarily influencers of faith in the child’s life.
In the opening pages of Samuel’s account, we encounter a baby dedication of sorts. The proud parents, Elkanah and Hannah, are in the House of God with their infant son, Samuel, before the priest Eli. After the exchange of vows, the prayers and the photo op with the family, Hannah grabs the mic from Eli and begins to sing a song; not sure she had permission to do this. The complexity and depth of this song infers she came to church with lyrics in hand. Amazingly, she doesn’t sing about her newborn son. She sings about her God. The songs takes on a prophetic nuance to it as she announces the King who will deliver his people, silence his enemies and bring justice and peace to the entire world (1 Sam. 2:10). Her words set the course for the rest of the Old Testament and set the stage for the King of Kings to arrive in a manger in Bethlehem.