Grace for the New Year

Grace for the New Year

By: Greg Birgy, Advocate Engagement Director, USA

As a new year dawns, it’s common for people to take time to reflect over the last year and to make plans for the year ahead. It’s a time when many set resolutions and, in the coming days, weeks, and months, many resolutions will be broken.

Reflection and planning can be very beneficial exercises. It seems, however, that a lot of the reflection is focused on what has been done or left undone. Much of the planning is about what we want to do or accomplish.

A recent blog post that my wife shared with me resonated with much of what God seems to be repeatedly speaking to me. It focused more on being than doing. The author of the blog is a local pastor’s wife who has spent much of the last two years battling cancer. It appears she is experiencing victory—but the lessons learned during the battle are ones she wants to carry with her into this “new life” she has before her rather than leave them behind in the memories of her past. Those lessons had a lot to do with the pace of life, the priorities, and understanding who we really are in Christ. She spoke of the importance of being a redeemed child of God rather than just doing the things that Christians do.

Being a Child Advocate with Compassion is often spoken of in terms of what you do. We’re even considering making changes in how we determine who is an advocate so that it is not based solely upon “joining” the Advocate Network, but based more upon one’s demonstrated commitment by participating in advocacy activities and opportunities. Ultimately, when you do acts of advocacy, you’re “in.”

There’s a lot of merit to that philosophy. Still, I’m struck by the reality that so much of what we do is a reflection of who we are. It is the work of God that makes us who we are—as members of God’s creation as well as people who have been redeemed. It is God’s love for us and God’s daily grace that move us to actually do the things that we do. It is God who “releases children from poverty” and God who has chosen us to participate in this great work.

My prayer for all of us as we journey into a new year on this earth is that we welcome the embrace of our God, spend time simply being in God’s presence and receiving the direction He has for us for each new day. I pray that what we spend our time doing as we live out our days will be a true reflection of who God has created us to be.