December 29, 2018
Churches often mark the end of Christmas with a retelling of the visit of the Magi, or wisemen, on Epiphany (January 6). The Magi’s support and savvy may make them the earliest recorded child advocates. They serve as an example of how we might advocate and support children in Illinois throughout the coming year.
“Star Words” (https://www.buildfaith.org/guiding-stars-an-epiphany-activity-at-home/#gref) are an newer Epiphany tradition in which individuals or families choose a guiding word to follow throughout the year. Written on stars, they help navigate the way through the year with intention and focus.
United Voices for Children asks you to consider choosing a word that helps to remind you to support children and youth in every season. Potential star words can be found in UVC’s Child Advocate description: speak and advocate, collaborate and organize, support and promote.
Speak and Advocate:
During the Magi’s visit to Jerusalem they are searching for a newborn king. The predicted king was the one whom we know as Jesus, who was deeply concerned for children and those in need and whose life, death and resurrection offer hope for all people. Matthew 2:3 says that Herod was “frightened,” presumably because this child would be a threat to his power. Rather than report back to Herod as asked, the Magi protect Jesus by returning home another way. What actions can you take to keep children safe this year? A list of resources can be found here: https://unitedvoicesforchildren.org/links/resources/
Collaborate and organize:
The Bible doesn’t state how many Magi came to Bethlehem (we often imagine three because there were three gifts). Regardless of the exact number, we know that there was more than one who came to see what new thing God was doing in the world. United Voices for Children collaborates and organizes by partnering with child serving agencies, local churches and individuals. In its 39 year history, UVC has raised over one million dollars, organized rallies in Springfield, and offered meaningful workshops on issues directly affecting children and youth. Join our email list to receive more information about becoming a UVC Child Advocate: https://unitedvoicesforchildren.org/links/resources/
Support and Promote:
“Wouldn’t blankets and diapers have been more useful than frankincense and myrrh?” we’ve heard jokingly. Regardless of why they brought what they brought, the Magi materially supported a young child. Please consider a monthly gift to United Voices for Children https://unitedvoicesforchildren.org/donate/. UVC’s revenues are disbursed directly to our affiliated agencies—ChildServ, MYSI and Rosecrance—in support of their mission and direct services, as well as UVC’s mission to equip congregations to advocate for underserved children, youth and families throughout the Northern Illinois Conference.
Promote and follow us on social media:. https://www.facebook.com/
Speak, advocate, collaborate, organize, support, promote. Chose a word that encourages you to increase your advocacy efforts this year. Write your word and your goal on a star and place it in a visible location. We’d love to see a picture of your star word on Facebook.
On behalf of the United Voices for Children Board, thank you for your support of children and youth in need.
Christine V. Hides is Director of Christian Education at the Kenilworth Union Church and a member of the United Voices for Children board of directors.