For 49 years, Janice* hadn’t ever experienced joy. She didn’t even know what real love felt like. She knew she was missing something, so she set out trying to find it — on her own. Her quest led her down the path of several dangerous and dark relationships which left her feeling so alone she thought the only thing left was to end her life. She didn’t understand who Jesus was, what Christmas meant, or what true joy felt like. Then, in God’s goodness, He pierced her darkness and gave her a tiny glimpse of hope. It was enough to get her to seek help instead of committing suicide. That’s when she came to Shepherd’s Gate. Many women are like Janice when the come to us. They don’t know Jesus. They don’t know what it means to be loved and to feel at home. They are so abused and wounded that they wrongly believe they are unlovable — and some of them even contemplate taking their own lives. It’s tragic, but it’s the truth. In fact, for many hurting people, the holidays remind them of all they don’t have. It’s just another day they have to face the darkness of their abuse, their homelessness, their addiction and their despair. And that’s why Christmas is so important to us here at Shepherd’s Gate — it’s the perfect time to show these women and their children what true love looks like: Jesus laying aside His power and rights to come to earth and save broken, hurting, and sinful people. Christmas gives the families staying with us a new way to look at God’s goodness. Then they can begin to heal and their lives can be changed — just like Janice. “I never had a good Christmas or birthday until I came to Shepherd’s Gate. I didn’t know the meaning behind Christmas. Now I do and I won’t go back,” she says. As you are going about your holiday preparations, I encourage you to remember what Christmas is really about: our loving Savior. Pray for those who don’t yet know Him. Pray that this year they will see Him with fresh eyes and begin to celebrate the true meaning to Christmas. Blessings to you! *Name changed for privacy.