Thank you for warmly welcoming me to the group! I wish each one of you,
however you celebrate this season, a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanuka with
your family and friends! I'd like to share this little Christmas story with
you that reassures us hope springs eternal! It tells us once again NEVER give
Sincerely, Betty Lloyd - CT
Subject: The Tablecloth
A true Story:
The brand new pastor, newly assigned to his first ministry,
to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited
about his opportunities. When he saw the church, it was very run down
and needed much work. He set a goal to have everything done in time to have
his first service on Christmas Eve. He worked hard repairing pews,
plastering walls, painting, etc. and on Dec 18 were ahead of schedule and
just about finished.
On Dec 19th 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
and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service,
On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type s
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
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
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
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 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, sent to prison and
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
that 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 great. At the end of the service, the
pastor 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, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to
follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife
his home again all these 35 years.
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 - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid, New York, NY
Who says God does not work in mysterious ways.