Luke’s Best Birthday


(Based on a true story)
Baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments (Moroni 8:25).

On his birthday, Luke had fun opening presents and eating cake and ice cream, but he could hardly wait for the best present of all—he was getting baptized today! Thinking about going under the water made Luke a little scared since he didn’t know how to swim, but he knew he could trust Dad. He and Dad had practiced how to stand, and he knew that Jesus would help him be brave. He felt ready.

Finally it was time to go. Luke and Dad left for the church building first. When they pulled into the parking lot, Luke hoped that he could be the very first child to be baptized. He and Dad changed into their white clothes and then sat in the first pew in the chapel to wait.

Dad looked down at Luke and smiled. “You are glowing with happiness, Luke,” he said.

Luke grinned back. He sat quietly as the chapel started to fill up with people. He watched as other children in white clothes came in with their families. Luke still hoped he could be first, but he knew there were a lot of other children waiting to be baptized. A thrill went through him as he remembered again that soon it would be his turn to go down in the water.

A man came over and told them that Luke was third on the list. Luke was a little disappointed until Dad put his arm around him and gave him a little squeeze. Luke leaned against Dad. “Today I’m getting baptized!” he thought.

Soft music started to play, and it gave Luke a peaceful feeling. He saw Mom and his brothers come in, and he waved at them. They smiled and waved back, and then found an empty pew to sit in.

Luke could hardly bear waiting any longer! Just when he thought he couldn’t wait anymore, a man got up and started the meeting. There was a hymn, a prayer, and some talks. As he listened, Luke thought about baptism. He thought about how neat it was going to be to have the Holy Ghost with him all the time. A boy got up to bear his testimony, and then a family sang the song “When I Am Baptized.”* Luke imagined a rainbow and how clean and fresh it feels outside just after a rain shower. He thought about how baptism makes a person clean.

A man announced that it was time for the first child getting baptized to go to the font. Then the man called the next child’s name. Luke’s heart started thumping loudly. His name was third on the list. Luke listened for his name. He grabbed Dad’s hand and scooted to the edge of the pew. Luke was about to stand up when the man read someone else’s name. Luke swung around and looked at Dad with wide eyes.

“Don’t worry,” Dad said. “He must have accidentally skipped you. I’m sure we’ll be next.”

But the next one wasn’t Luke’s name either. Again Dad whispered that they would be next. Luke’s stomach felt like someone had dropped a big rock into it. Would he ever get a turn? Another child was called, and Luke squirmed in his seat. More names were read. He noticed Dad was wiggling around a little now too. They watched as other children and their families left for the baptismal room. Luke wasn’t feeling special and excited anymore. He was tired and a little sad. Had they forgotten about him?

When the man started to close the meeting, Luke sat up straight and Dad stood up. The man saw them and his mouth dropped open. “Oh no,” he apologized. “I don’t know how I missed you!”

It was finally Luke’s turn to be baptized, but he wasn’t feeling excited anymore. They had forgotten about him! It must not be important to them that he was ready to be baptized. He walked slowly as he and Dad made their way to the font. Luke blinked a few times and tried to pretend that his eyes weren’t getting a little wet.

Dad stepped into the water. Luke could hear it slosh as Dad made his way to the center of the font. Luke tried to swallow the lump in his throat as he hesitated at the top of the steps. Then he noticed Dad’s face. He was looking up at Luke with a huge smile full of love. His hand was stretched out toward Luke. All at once Luke’s sadness melted away as he took Dad’s hand and stepped all the way down into the warm water.

Luke looked up and saw his friends and cousins kneeling near the edge of the font. They were all grinning at him. He could see his Primary teacher, his bishop, some of his aunts and uncles, and Grandma and Grandpa smiling at him. Mom even had happy tears in her eyes. Luke knew then that everyone there understood how important his baptism was. They were all here because they loved him and they wanted to watch and celebrate with him. Luke found himself smiling too.

Luke closed his eyes as Dad said the baptismal prayer. Then he bent his knees as Dad dipped him under the water. As Luke came up he felt so happy and clean! None of the things that had gone wrong mattered anymore. He wiped the water out of his eyes and saw everyone still smiling at him. He knew that Heavenly Father and Jesus hadn’t forgotten about him on his special day, and that They never would. It was his best birthday ever.

[A Covenant]

Elder Robert D. Hales

“At baptism we make a covenant with our Heavenly Father that we are willing to come into His kingdom and keep His commandments.” Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 7.

[illustrations] Illustrations by Brad Teare

* Children’s Songbook, 103.