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The Red Christmas Tablecloth

I’ve received a tremendous response from The Red Christmas Tablecloth Story since I first posted it online. Many people have commented that it has been a meaningful and encouraging story to them. My prayer is that it brings you hope and inspiration. Enjoy!

After my mother passed away, my sisters went through her belongings to see what needed to be kept and what needed to be thrown away. When they called me to ask if I wanted anything, I answered without hesitation, saying, “I want the red Christmas tablecloth.”

To tell you the truth, it’s not much to look at. It’s threadbare in spots, moth-eaten in others, and its color is fading in several places. But there is a story behind this tablecloth, and that’s why I asked for it as a keepsake to pass down to my children.

If I were to put a positive spin on it, I would say this is an antique European import. But that would only be a half truth. The reality is, this red cloth and hundreds of others like it used to hang from buildings across Germany and all the European countries Hitler invaded during World War II. It was a despised symbol of hatred and death. It was a sign of oppression and slavery. It was a Nazi flag.

When American GIs returned from WWII, it was not uncommon for them to bring home souvenirs such as German helmets, daggers, and uniforms. My uncle brought home a Nazi flag which his company had captured and gave it to my grandmother. Being of the more practical sort, she cut away the offending black swastika and turned it into a tablecloth that the family used for special occasions like Christmas dinner. She said, “What was originally meant for evil will now be used for something good.”

The Red Christmas Tablecloth

The Red Christmas Tablecloth

When I hear that story, I can’t help but think of what the Lord did for us by coming to earth as a baby over 2,000 years ago. Babies are awesome. We all love them. But the story of Jesus’ birth is just part of the story. He came and lived and died so that we, who are full of sin, could be totally transformed into something good. Just like my grandmother cut away the ugly black mark that used to define this cloth, Jesus took away the ugly black mark of sin and changed us into something completely new and unrecognizable from what we once were.

That is truly joy to the world.

Charles and Laura Marshall

© 2016 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site at or contact him via e-mail at