Our Advent Prayer: Let Us Support Children and Families in our Tax Policy

December 4, 2017

As we begin the season of Advent, we recall the time Mary and Joseph spent preparing for the birth of Jesus – time spent in joyful anticipation. Now, we wait in hopeful anticipation for Christ and strive to shape a world where all children are welcomed and cared for.

As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we are reminded of children across the country whose lives are affected by federal policies. Throughout the weeks of Advent, NETWORK will explore the current policy situation of: the Dream Act, the Child Tax Credit, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and child care for working families. We will share a combination of reflections, prayers, and current news that will help us gain insight into how these policies impact children and their families. We hope you will join us on this journey during Advent while we prepare for the coming of the child Jesus!

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   -John 1:14, NIV

Policy Basics: The Child Tax Credit

  1. The Child Tax Credit is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in our nation. In 2016, it lifted approximately 2.7 million people out of poverty, including about 1.5 million children, and lessened poverty for another 12.3 million people, including 6.1 million children.
  2. The Child Tax Credit was created in 1997, and historically has had bipartisan support in Congress and from the White House.
  3. The Child Tax Credit includes a refundable component; if the value of the credit exceeds the amount of federal income tax a family owes, the family may receive part or all of the difference in the form of a refund check.  Therefore, many working families can benefit from the credit even if their incomes are so low that they owe little or no federal income tax in a given year.
  4. Research has found that boosting working families’ incomes, as the Child Tax Credit does, can expand opportunities for children, leading to better health, improved school performance, and eventually higher earnings in adulthood.

Source: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A Prayer to Support Children and Families

Dear Jesus,

Advent calls us to be alert to signs of a pending encounter with You.  When that glorious encounter occurs, may we be prepared to respond rightly.

Working together, we encountered You in vulnerable parents and children, and we provided for them.  Would that you might always meet us doing right, being mindful of You in our ways. (Isaiah 64:4)

It is not right for our policies to reward the wealthy while failing to extend the same support to struggling families. We cry out to You from the wilderness of disparate opportunity and pray that political leaders encounter You as they allocate hope to mothers and children. And would that You meet them doing right, being mindful of You in their ways. 

Clearly, proposals to prioritize some families over others based on immigration status affronts Your ways and must be opposed.  Encounter us, dear Jesus, as we struggle to hold leaders accountable to justice for all persons in our country. And would that You meet us doing right, being mindful of You in our ways.

Encounter us, oh Lord, encounter us!  And would that You meet us doing right, being mindful of You in our ways!

In Jesus’ name we pray.


Written by Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C.