A Limited Series Godwink Podcast
Pastor Robert Nance was about to inaugurate a new church in upstate New York. The night before his first service, a storm and a chance meeting (with a Godwink!) changed his life.
Find out what happens on today's Godwink Christmas Stories podcast!
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GODWINKS EP8 EDITED.mp3
That's the heavy doors creaked open. He was anxious to see the newly painted and plastered sanctuary. He stood in the entry way, not in awe. But in shock during the night, a leak in the roof had ripped a gaping hole in the wall right behind the pulpit. Oh no. Now what am I going to do? He asked himself, shaking his head in utter dismay.
Welcome to the Godwink Christmas podcast with stories from SQuire Rushnell. This limited series podcast is brought to you by Godwink Brands. Visit Godwink SQuire for more information. Now here's the Godwink guy SQuire Rushnell.
The storm clouds of winter dissipated over the village where Pastor Robert Nance was preparing for his grand opening as he liked to call it Christmas Eve. Just one day away would inaugurate his assignment to an historic but woefully dilapidated church in upstate New York as the heavy doors creaked open. He was anxious to see the newly painted and plastered sanctuary that he and a group of volunteers had completed just the evening before just ahead of the storm. He stood in the entryway, not in awe, but in shock. During the night, a leak in the roof had ripped a gaping hole in the wall right behind the pulpit. Oh no. Now what am I going to do? He asked himself, shaking his head in utter dismay. He quickly calculated that there was no way he could round up church volunteers or hire anyone to repair the damage by the next afternoon. It was crestfallen. For the past two weeks, he had been going door to door throughout the neighborhood, telling people about the Christmas Eve festivities, inviting them to come to the rejuvenated church, telling them to bring their children and friends and family. Now, he thought to himself, nearly tearing up. I'm letting everyone down. The only thing they'll be staring at all during the service is that ugly hole in the wall. Lord, I need a miracle, he declared a loud, lifting his eyes upward as he turned and walked dejectedly toward his study in the back of the church. He passed through an anteroom, stepping sideways to get around an annoying pile of unsold items from the holiday bazaar, to which someone had attached a handwritten note trash.
He headed into his study and then stopped backed up to look at something it caught his eye. He lifted the edges of what appeared to be a huge tablecloth. It was actually an old tapestry, once beautiful and finally woven. Now it was well-worn and oversize for any home. No wonder it didn't sell, he thought. Then an idea struck him. Wait. This tapestry could be just the thing I need. He pulled a tall ladder out of the back room, lugged it into the sanctuary and with a hammer and a few nails completed his task. It was past sunset when Pastor Nance left his study and began to exit the church. He turned to take one last look into the sanctuary before shutting off the lights with a self-satisfied smile. He gazed upon the miracle that God had delivered to him. The old tapestry nailed to the wall completely masked that nasty hole. The pastor had almost reached his car when he realized that he'd absentmindedly left his keys on the desk. He returned to the church, passing the bus stop where he spotted a small woman huddled in the cold. Hello. How long have you been waiting? He asked. Her dark eyes looked at him with uncertainty. She shivered and her voice was weak as she slowly spoke in accented English. One hour, come inside and get warm. When I get my keys, I can drive you home, he offered. When Pastor Nance returned from his study, he didn't see the old woman then.
Then he saw her. She was standing behind the pulpit, examining the tapestry in the dim. Light of the church, her wrinkled fingers stroked it fondly. This is mine, yours. Yes, those are my initials. She said, pointing to the corner of the tapestry. Responding to the confused look on his face, she continued, In Austria, we had a big table. I wove this with my own hands in the war. I lost my home. I was separated from my husband. Her voice trailed off as tears glistened in her eyes. I never saw him again. In disbelief, the pastor stammered, You, you must take this with you. He reached for the tapestry. No, she forbade him, raising her hand to halt him. You keep it here. I have no place for it. It was a quiet ride through the darkened streets. The pastor was nearly speechless as he said goodbye. I'm going to pray for you, he told her. Helping her from the car. Thank you, she replied with a slight smile. He watched her lonely form disappear into her modest dwelling and on the drive home. Pastor Nance did indeed pray for her. He asked God to bless that dear woman, please, God bless her. This Christmas, in a manner that she should never have imagined. Bless her, God. No women, please. God bless her. This Christmas, in a manner that she could never have imagined. Then, as he drove, he pondered the powerful significance of what he had witnessed. What are the odds that this woman at a lonely bus stop would somehow or other be connected to a tapestry left for trash that he had just hung inside the old church to solve a big problem? And what an incredible Godwink it was to occur at such a critical turning point in his own life.
The commencement of his new ministry? It was mind boggling. God, you are amazing, he whispered. Christmas Eve arrived in the hustle and bustle of holiday excitement. Children costumed as small sheep and shepherds scurried to their rehearsed places as a miniature Mary gently cradled a baby doll. Candlelight flickered across Rubin esque faces, and the old church came alive with joyful caroling, as was the tradition. Everyone sang Silent Night as the final Christmas Carol. Pastor Nance swelled with satisfaction. His grand opening had been a success. At the end of the evening, when the last hand was shaken and the last Merry Christmas wished, he felt a wonderful sense of peace with everyone gone. He turned to look just one more time at the majestic old tapestry hanging in the dim light. The miracle that had been delivered to him and that had now seemed to be right at home behind the pulpit. Perhaps we should keep it there, he mused. But something a ghostly figure near the tapestry caused his eyes to narrow. Hello! He asked into the dim light. No answer. Hello! He repeated, hesitantly, stepping closer. No answer. Oh oh, he sighed. It's you, Hans. He was relieved that it was only the church custodian. Hans was staring at the tapestry. Is everything all right, Hans? This is mine! He answered tentatively with a Viennese inflection.
I beg your pardon. This is mine. My wife made this in our home in Austria. Those are her initials. It was with our belongings in the war when we lost each other. His eyes moistened. Pastor Nance felt his pulse, quickening his heart beating faster. He could not believe that, like a startled spectator, he was witnessing an even bigger Christmas miracle. A Godwink beyond dimension and comprehension. He became nearly speechless. The tapestry was not just the solution for a damaged church wall. It was a tool of the almighty. A Godwink link that God was using the way he was using the pastor himself to connect to lost souls from long ago in a faraway land. Harms. Would you come with me, please ask Pastor Nance. I need to drive you somewhere, and I promise you this will be the best Christmas gift you have ever received. It's hard to imagine the joy that bubbled over inside Pastor Nance, a piece that was tucked into his heart for the rest of his days on Earth. Every time he relived that moment in his memory as he stood next to the bewildered hands at the door of a strange house waiting for the door to open to witness the joy in those two faces, Huns and his long lost love ignited by the light of God's love. Pastor Nance was forever blessed, richly blessed to have been an unwitting messenger, a Godwink link in the lives of those two forlorn people. It was his best Christmas ever.
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