Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. The usual business of the season must wind down and the pace of life must slow down.

This year… my goodness… We all have lots of words to express our feelings about 2020! It has been a year like none of us has every experienced. So much stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, illness, economic struggles and separation from those we love.

And the message of the quiet Christmas Eve – the stillness of tonight, even in solitude, is a strong reminder of what we celebrate on this night. A humble, tiny, vulnerable baby, born to likely scared, anxious parents, in an animal feeding trough. The violent, crazy, frightening world going on around them, and yet that night…that holy night, HOPE was born in a manger.

So today, in our celebrations which will be different than they were in years past, we still can experience a very significant holiday. Hope doesn’t always come like we expect and certainly doesn’t necessarily appear in the ways we would like. But HOPE is here for us all to sense, hear, listen to and be inspired by.

I have great hope and much gratitude for our work at FPL. We have experienced an overwhelming year and the needs in our community are greater than ever. Douglas County has shown tremendous generosity and commitment to our work, and to making sure every child has a home. Our continuum of services, Prevention, Diversion, Shelter and Stabilization, has become stronger through this crazy year of adjusting to the needs: And through it all, we are inspired and encouraged by the tremendous stories of those we serve. They have not lost hope, and they keep on striving for their children. We are inspired and encouraged by our community through the support of service, finances, and prayers.

So on this quieter pandemic Christmas Eve, I pray as I write this note, that we all find some quiet, beautiful, powerful hope that drives us to a deeper understanding of the season.

God’s presence, peace and love with you all,
Dana Ortiz, Executive Director, Family Promise of Lawrence

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