December 22, 2007

He Shall Direct Thy Paths

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen 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 December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 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 to 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 how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. Thewoman explained that before the war, she and her husband had been 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. He was captured, 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 house -cleaning 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, thepastor 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, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety. How he was supposed to follow her, but he had been arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

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 there he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine, as the man and his wife were reunited after thirty-five years!

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:6 KJV


The Frank Family said...

Jan -- I added you to my blogroll, I hope you don't mind. This was a beautiful story.

rockync said...

Jan, a lovely post that truly encompasses the spirit of the season.
Thank you and God bless.

Jan said...

Frank family..thank you, I am honored. I've added you to mine, also! :)

Jan said...

rockync..I love that story, too.

May God bless you, too! :)

Yehudi01 said...

That was amazing! Is it a true story? (I assume it is...) Merry Christmas, Jan!

Yehudi01 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yehudi01 said...

Sorry, the deleted comment was mine...I accidently posted twice!

Jan said...

Yehudi..Whether or not the story is true is undetermined. It has been told, with variations, but it is purported to be true, and was first published in the fifties. After I posted this story, I tried to find out more about it, and actually came up with a much better version, which seems more like it could be the original one, and is much more embellished.

In the story, the wife had learned that her husband had died in a concentration camp. She said that she had always felt that it had been her fault, because she had left without him, and that perhaps the years of wandering had been her punishiment.

The husband, who was a clock and watch repairman, when he saw the cloth, said that many years ago, he and his wife had owned such a cloth in their home in Vienna, and that his wife put it on the table only when the bishop came to dinner.

When the pastor told him about the woman who had been in the church earlier that day, the man said, "Can it be? Does she live?

The pastor and the man headed out for the city, "and as Christmas Day was born, this man and his wife who had been separated through so many saddened Yule tides were united."

It is a beautiful story, isn't it? :)

Yehudi01 said...

Stunning...I love stories like that! Make sure you tune in to the Bears-Packers game today,'s gonna be a doozie! :)

Yehudi01 said...

PS..I added you to my blogroll as well! Go Packers!

Jan said...

Yehudi..I am not much of a sports fan..I hardly know what they are doing!

Btw..did the Packers win? :)