Monday, December 19, 2011

GOD HOLDS OUT HIS CHRISTMAS GIFT, BUT WE MUST MAKE IT OURS


My three grandchildren make out lists of things they want for Christmas. Their two aunts and uncles and myself and my husband try to pick items from their lists to "surprise" them with. Yet, these gifts, no matter how much we spend, will fall apart or drop in the forgotten category in a few years, or maybe even months. Hopefully, we can give them the true gift of Christmas that never disintegrates or loses its value--the Christ Child Himself.

One year, my oldest grandson acted as if he appreciated the gift we gave him at Christmas, but when the family left for home, he left his present at our house. We gave him a gift, but he didn't accept it. So it is with us. God offers us valuable presents, but we must take them into our lives.

With God's sending His only Son, other gifts came our way. Jesus brings salvation, peace, joy, love and healing. Most of all, I'm grateful for Jesus' gift of hope for our future in this world and beyond. He holds out his gift of great value to each of us. Have you made it yours?

That's the true message of Christmas. God's gift/our blessing. My daughter sent this e-mail story to me. Many of you may also have received it, but it so touched my heart during this time that I wanted to repost in case some of you hadn't read it. See below.

Remember, whatever is going on in your life right now, God is in control. Nothing takes Him by surprise and nothing happens by chance. God is all we need.

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 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 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". 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.
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 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 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 and he was
Supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and
Put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home
Again all the 35 years 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 he saw the greatest Christmas
reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid
who says God does work in mysterious ways.

6 comments:

Trooper said...

I have annually made this the point as I have told the story of the birth of Jesus Christ to my children and grandchildren, now great grandchildren. You have done it so masterfully. How can we say we love the Baby in the Manger when we leave Him hanging on the tree of Calvary. Keep on writing.

Janet K Brown said...

Thank you, Trooper. In Bible times, the stories were passed down from generation to generation. We can do no less whether we talk or write our stories. God bless.

Moonine Sue Watson said...

I love this story. Thanks for sharing it.

Janet K Brown said...

Thanks, Sue. I love it, too.

plasterer sutton said...



plasterer sutton
I'm reminded of Jesus' words to the persnickety Pharisees: "You have strained out the gnat & gulped down the camel."

Janet K Brown said...

Great insight there. Thx for your commen