Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 6, 2010

don’t miss the Miracle

All is Well! It would be wonderful if those words truly reflected our world this Christmas season. But in looking around, it is easy to find all that is wrong. Considering that there is a war going on, political unrest and high unemployment (to name just a few), things don’t look all that rosy. On a personal note, most people feel some pressure during this season because of the frantic pace, all of the presents to buy, and all of the spending. Doesn’t sound much like “all is well” to me. We can’t fix the world’s problems, and you may still spend too much this Christmas, but all can be well. Reflect on a miracle with me.

A few years ago, I received this story from a friend. I believe it to be true, and it reminds me of the miracle of Christmas…

The brand new pastor and his wife came to their first ministry in Brooklyn, New York. They arrived in early October to reopen a church. The couple started to repair the run-down facility in hopes of having their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, painting, plastering etc, and on December 18, it was about finished. But as life would have it, torrential rains came on the 19th and lasted two days. When the pastor finally went back to the church on the 21st, he found it in disrepair. The roof had leaked, and there was a 20 by 8 foot area of plaster missing behind the pulpit.

With sadness, the pastor decided to cancel Christmas Eve. Heading home, he drifted into a flea market. His eyes landed on a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth. It was an exquisite piece, with a cross right in the middle. Being a perfect fit for the missing plaster behind his pulpit, the young pastor bought it and headed back to the church. On his way back, he encountered an elderly lady who had missed her bus. He let her wait in the church until her bus came. She ignored him as he began to place the tapestry behind the pulpit.

All of a sudden, he noticed her coming down the aisle. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get the tablecloth?” He explained and she asked him to check for the initials EBG in the right corner. Upon finding her initials, the young pastor heard a painful story. She and her husband were well to do when the war came to Austria 35 years earlier. She was forced to leave as the Nazis attacked. Her husband was to follow the next week. He was captured and she never saw him or her country again. He tried to give the tapestry to her, but she wanted him to keep it for the church. The least he could do was take her home, and he did. She lived on the other side of Staten Island, and was only in Brooklyn for a housing cleaning job.

On Christmas Eve, the church reopened and was almost full. The music and spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted the quests and many were interested in returning. Curiously, there was an older man who remained in his seat and stared. The young pastor approached him about why he wasn’t leaving. The man asked him where he got the tapestry on the front wall. It was just like the one his wife had made in Austria 35 years earlier. There couldn’t be two tablecloths just alike. He told the young pastor of how the Nazis came, his wife had to flee and that he was to follow her. But he was arrested, put in prison and had not seen his wife or his home in 35 years.

The pastor asked if he could take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the elderly man climb three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and witnessed the greatest Christmas reunion he could have ever imagined. Can you imagine the tears and joy all wrapped together?  It was a miracle, and for a moment in time … All was Well!

As I think of that moment, I am reminded of another reconciliation. There was a separation, of far greater depth and breadth. It was in a garden, and at the start, all was well. It wasn’t the Nazis, but sin that separated mankind from God. No one could bridge the great divide, but then in a special moment in time, God became man, Christ came and all could be well. He entered our world in a stable, lived a perfect life and then at another remarkable moment in time, He died for our sins and rose again so that all could be well.

Unemployment may stay high, wars will continue, and the Christmas season will most likely have a frantic pace for you. But where life matters, within you, all can be well. The young pastor witnessed a miracle. Don’t miss the Miracle this year! All is Well.

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