Christmas is over at Smith Mountain Lake and now everyone is thinking about New Year’s celebrations. In between all the hustle and bustle of these two wonderful holidays of winter, many of you have some time off with your families.
One of these evenings when you are all sitting around after supper with nothing to do, maybe you will decide to share some inspiring stories that you have heard (or read). If so, you will love the one below. This true story will bless all who hear it and remind them of the hope God has for us.
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry
to re-open a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited
about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on
Dec 18 was ahead of schedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a terrible
tempest – a driving rainstorm – hit the area and lasted for two days. On
the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw
that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8
feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit,
beginning about head high.
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to
do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he
noticed that a local business was having a flea market-type sale for charity
so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory-colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors, and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the
hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the
opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor
invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.
She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder,
hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.
The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up
the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?”
The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG 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 her 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 the next week. She was captured and sent
to prison and she never saw her husband or her 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 on
Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were
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
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for
her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put
in prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride.
They drove to Staten Island and to the same house 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.
True Story – by Pastor Rob Reid