A Christmas surprise

 

 

Sigfried Meier looked out at the deep snow and listened to the howling wind. It was Christmastime, but no, there were no holiday feelings where he was.

Sigfried was in a Russian prison camp. He had been sent there with other German soldiers during World War II. Every day they were forced to work hard as men with machine guns watched them. They had little to eat and little to live for.

Life hadn’t always been that way for Sigfried. As a boy, he remembered celebrating Christmas. He even made a small Nativity scene from strips of wood and colored paper. Christmas was a special time, and he felt the wonder of God’s special gift to man.

Then, Adolph Hitler came to power in Germany. He trained young men to hate anything about God and believe only in the power of Nazism. Sigfried joined the Nazi army and forgot about Jesus.

Now, in the prison camp, memories of childhood holidays came flooding back to him. He realized how far from God he was. “Oh, Jesus,” he prayed, “I am lost! I have strayed from You. Now I am alone in this place. Will you please forgive me and help me?”

God had not forgotten Sigfried. He welcomed him back and gave him peace, even in the midst of the barren prison camp. That night at mealtime, as other prisoners quarrelled over a few kernels of dried corn, Sigfried began to sing “Silent Night! Holy Night!” Again he sensed the wonder of Christmas that he had felt as a boy.

“Shut up,” the other prisoners shouted. “Stop that nonsense or you’ll be sorry.”

Instead of arguing, Sigfried went outside into the cold. As he walked aimlessly in the prison yard, he suddenly stumbled on something. Curious, he picked it up and discovered it was a pumpkin! “Jesus has given me a special gift of food,” he said in wonder. He cut the pumpkin in half, roasted it over a fire, and ate it, grateful that God had seen his need.

But the season held even more surprises. A few days later a Russian soldier chose Sigfried to go with him to get some trees from a nearby forest. On the way, they came to a village. The Russian soldier stopped there to visit a friend, leaving Sigfried behind with the horses and wagon.

Seeing a house nearby, Sigfried felt led to go to it. He knew it was risky. The owner might not welcome a German prisoner of war coming to the door. But the urging grew stronger. When he knocked at the door, a kind, elderly woman answered.

 “Oh, look,” she called to her daughter, “It’s a poor young German—a prisoner. Come in! Are you hungry? Have you heard anything from your family?” As she talked, she hurried about to prepare bread and tea for Sigfried to eat. How good the fresh food tasted! God sent him to a home where He knew he would have a warm place to sit and good food to eat. What a wonderful Christmas treat!

Sigfried knew he had only a few minutes to stay. As he stood to leave, the kind woman put a paper-wrapped object in his pocket. “God bless you, my boy,” she said as Sigfried headed back to the wagon.

Before long, Sigfried and the Russian soldier reached the woods. As soon as he was alone, Sigfried unwrapped the object to see what the woman had given him. There was a roasted sparerib! What a feast for a half-starved prisoner. Sigfried knew only God could have supplied the pumpkin, cakes, hot tea, and meat for him at Christmastime. God had not forgotten him! “Jesus, I will serve you the rest of my life,” Sigfried prayed.

Sigfried stayed in the prison camp four more years, but his faith in Jesus stayed strong. Eventually, he was released and allowed to return home to Germany. After three years, he sensed God calling him to preach. He went to a Bible school in Erzhausen where he prepared for ministry. He wanted to spend the rest of his life telling others about Jesus, the One who can reach even into a prison camp and bring peace at Christmastime.

 

Information for this story came from a Pentecostal Evangel article printed in 1955.

 

From: http://4kids.ag.org/

 

 

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