A new young pastor and his wife arrived in October excited about their opportunities, but when they saw the church, it was run down and needing much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They were ahead of schedule but on December 19th a rainstorm hit the area that lasted for two days. The pastor went to the church and his heart sank. The roof leaked, causing a large area of plaster to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary. The pastor cleaned up the mess and anticipated postponing the Christmas Eve service.
Heading home, he saw a local business was having a sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center– just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
It was starting to snow. An older woman running to catch the bus, missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus. The pastor got a ladder, hangers to put up the wall tapestry, but then he noticed the woman walking down the aisle. “Pastor, where did you get that tablecloth?”
The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, E.B.G. were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten “The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her but he was captured and sent to prison. She never saw her husband or home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.
The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came and he forced his wife to flee to safety and he was going to follow, but was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or home again in 35 years.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island to where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine!
EDITORS NOTE: This column is by Pastor Rob Reid and was edited by Richard Ruhling. To learn more visit: http://ChooseABetterDestiny.com.