Day 16

Day 16

Luke 2:1-4 

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered…Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth to the city of David called Bethlehem. 

Source: UNICEF global databases, 2023, based on Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), other national surveys, censuses and vital registration systems, 2013-2022.


Have you ever stopped to think about birth registration? It’s something so normal in our society that we may be surprised to know that today worldwide, 1 in 4 children under the age of 5 do not officially exist. (United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 2023)

Birth registration is the first legal recognition of a child’s existence and establishes their legal status, important for protecting their rights – to a name, to be cared for, and to be protected from exploitation, child labour, child marriage, trafficking, and other forms of mistreatment. It affords access to education, to obtain migration documentation, and to claim inheritance rights.

UNICEF works in collaboration with national and local government structures, health organisations, charities and faith groups around the world, including the International Anglican Family Network, to raise the profile and practice of birth registration for the wellbeing of children everywhere. Perhaps you might take some time today to pray for them and their vital work, and to give thanks for the progress that is being made: 396,000 under 5’s in Kigoma, Tanzania registered in October 2023, and a new health facility in Gujro, Pakistan where integrated service delivery includes registering boys and girls equally.

(And if you’re a reader, Tara Westover’s Educated  tells her story of growing up in mid-West America unregistered.)

Angela Joy

  • Church of England.
  • Diocese of York.