Monday, December 8, 2014

The Comforter

I ran across the following story recently, it's a wonderful Christmas story.  I thought it worth posting and passing on......

The Comforter

The entrance to Dachau

While serving overseas, a group of US soldiers visited Dachau Concentration Camp, where untold thousands of innocent people were murdered.
Many were worked to death; many starved; many were tortured; many died of exposure; many were used for target practice; many were herded together and mowed down with machine guns; many asphyxiated in gas chambers. Bodies were cremated or dumped in mass graves and covered with bulldozers.

Life-size murals showed prisoners being tortured, while sadistic, laughing SS officers watched. Instruments of torture, such as barbed-wire riding quirts and sharp-pointed goads, were displayed. Barracks contained wooden, coverless cots stacked from floor to ceiling. Dachau is the ultimate definition of man’s inhumanity to man.

Recently, I found a Christmas story filed away years ago that rekindled memories of Dachau.

A preacher and his wife were establishing a church in a dangerous metropolitan area. Funds were limited, so they chose a rundown building for their church. After renovating the interior, they announced that the first service would be held on the following Sunday, a few days before Christmas.

Unfortunately, a storm shook loose a large chunk of plaster from the wall behind the pulpit. Knowing he didn’t have time to repair it, the preacher searched for something to cover the gaping hole.

On a whim, he stopped at a flea market, and found what could cover the hole temporarily: a hand-sewn comforter with a large cross in its center.

Upon reaching his church, he noticed an old lady who had missed a bus, and invited her to come in where it was warm. Then he placed the comforter over the hole; it fit perfectly.

“Where did you get that comforter?” the old lady gasped. When he told her, she explained that she had sewn it for her husband many years ago. The preacher offered to give it to her.

“Oh, no, it will serve a far better purpose where you have it.”

To express his gratitude, he drove her home. On the way, she explained that in 1938, when Hitler annexed Austria, she was allowed to leave the country, but that her husband was taken prisoner. They never saw each other again.

After the preacher’s first sermon, an old man came forward and asked him where he had gotten the comforter. He told the preacher that his wife had sewn it for him, but he had not seen or heard from her in a half century. All he knew was that she fled to America. He never stopped loving her, and had to find out if she was alive, or where she was buried.

The preacher exclaimed, “Sir, you are about to receive one of the greatest Christmas gifts of your life.”

He drove to the lady’s home, and told the man to knock on the door. When it opened, a man and his wife, whose love for each other the evils of Nazism could never destroy, embraced and wept for joy.

On Christmas day, the preacher brought them a gift: the comforter.

 By Jimmy Reed

The photo of the entrance to Dachau was taken by me in February of 1995

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