A baby born years ago is still celebrated today at Christmas. The gift of life from our Creator proved to be the greatest gift. This, along with so many other reasons, is why Christmas is my favorite time of year—a perfect time to celebrate the others around us. We spend hours looking for that special gift or crafting that special card to show just how much we truly appreciate those in our life.

I do not have space here to truly show our appreciation to you for your partnership with HOPE. I could write for days about your supplying HOPE with baby shower items, prayers, time, and money. I could spend every day for the next 50 or so visiting each individual church partner to offer our gratitude for their assistance in 2016. We could expand that 50-day ordeal to 1,000-plus if we attempted to visit with every one of our donors and volunteers from this past year.

Some have argued that 2016 tops the list of worst years, pointing to tragedies, elections, and protests as their reasoning. The 24-hour news cycle thrives on the negative, but I would wager that 2016 also gave us a glimpse into the love and sacrifice neighbors and strangers have for one another.

This is certainly our outlook at HOPE. We have seen an outpouring of support from individuals, churches, and businesses. Friends, neighbors, and strangers stepped in to offer support that allowed us to operate and complete our 19th year.

Because of the generosity of our community, we hosted over 50 baby showers to moms in need. Checks were written so that we could offer hundreds of ultrasounds to moms in our community—85% of whom chose life.

Prayers were prayed (and answered!) as many “HOPE” babies will get to see their first Christmas this year!!

These are not arbitrary numbers that help push a false narrative. Instead, these numbers represent real lives impacted by you; lives that many in society would not have given a chance were granted love and care because you stood. You partnered with us and made these stories and these numbers possible.

As you prepare to celebrate this Christmas season, I would ask that you reflect on the past 19 years at HOPE. Think about the lives changed, impacted, and saved through your gifts. Think about the showers thrown, the ultrasounds given, and the choices made.

We at HOPE do not operate in a bubble. We operate alongside each of you. We serve these moms, dads, and babies with your help.

The greatest gift came in the form of a baby. This was no accident. So…as you find yourself over the next few days drifting off into a holiday respite, I would encourage you to give some thought to the lives you touched and the families you stood for as you gave to HOPE. We are truly thankful that you did!!

Merry Christmas!!

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center