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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Schlabach

The King's Table

Deep, dark, blue snow clouds hung low on the horizon as I stared at the sky through my bedroom window. I was feeling lonely and sad. My heart was in shreds and felt just as dark and stormy as the sky. The night before had been clear and the air was crisp and cold as I walked along the evergreen trees. The stars had been out in perfect formation shining their brightest and I wondered if there was a God... was there Someone who knew all the stars by name? I had heard of His love but I couldn’t believe that He would love someone like me, an almost orphan girl, a prostitute, a sinner with a shattered broken heart. My dress was in as many shreds as my heart and my family was the outcast of the community. We lived deep in the forest at the base of the mountain about 45 minutes from town.

Dad was the town drunk. He would go to bars trying to block the reality of life. It seemed like an eternity since mom had died but really it had only been a year. Mom and I had many good times together and we were best friends but now I was all alone with dad in our three room cabin. Since mom’s death we hadn’t been out much and didn’t interact with people hardly at all, so here I was trying to figure out life and what life was really about. Christmas Sunday was just three days ago. Dad had decided to attend the holiday festivities at church. It was the first time we had gone to church since mom’s death. The dressed up gray haired man with a very kind face greeted us at the door and welcomed us in. My heart felt something it hadn’t felt in a long time and tears welled up in my eyes. I blinked and blinked because I didn’t want others to see the tears threatening to spill over at the kind man’s warm welcome. I looked down at my tattered dress that had been new a very long time ago and my shoes were still the same ones I had worn for I didn’t even know how long. Despite my clothes and our reputation I had felt love for the very first time in a very long time but when we returned to our cabin at the foot of the mountains, life and the reality of it all settled back in. Ever since Sunday I’ve been wanting to feel that love and peace again. A spark of hope had started burning deep in my soul...maybe there is more and maybe there is Someone who loves lonely little girls like me, like that Someone who knows all the stars by name. I had asked for a shooting star last night when the stars were shining so brightly. I hadn’t seen one until just before I stepped into the cabin. It zipped across the sky in plain sight so I could see it. I knew then and there that there was Someone who knew the stars by name and that maybe, just maybe He loved me too.

I decided to go on a walk along the evergreens again tonight hoping it would start snowing on the 2” of snow we already had on the ground. As I stepped out the door, snow started falling lazily to the ground. It was cold and I shivered a little but it’s no wonder... my clothes were merely rags and they didn’t keep me very warm anymore. Somehow though getting out and breathing in the cold air was so refreshing and as my mind cleared I started reflecting on life and everything that had transpired the last few days. I found myself crying and then I started whispering, “Jesus are you really real? Do you love me even after everything that I’ve done wrong? Why did you take mom away? Why does dad do what he does?” I cried until I could hardly breathe, tears running down my cheeks endlessly. I felt something brush against my arm and I looked up through my tears and looked into the face of a man even kinder than the gray haired man in church on Sunday. He said, “What are you doing walking alone on this cold snowy night?” I looked down wondering what to say and I finally stuttered and said, “I’ve been looking for answers in life and I was wondering if God is real and why people die?”

He smiled and said, “I understand. Would you go to a banquet with me? There you will find answers.”

“Me at a banquet?!” I said incredulously, “I’m an outcast, a prostitute, and see my clothes?! They’re rags. They’re not fit for a banquet and besides who are you anyway?”

He looked at me and said gently, “I am the King’s ambassador and the banquet will be with the King Himself. He has called for you. Here is a satchel with everything you need for the banquet dinner. At 6:30 a carriage will arrive at your cabin to pick you up and take you to the banquet.”

I stood there flustered for a minute not sure what to do. I thought of my father and I wasn’t sure where he was. The gentleman saw I hesitated and He asked, “Do you have any questions before I leave?” Nodding I said, “Sir, you’ve been so kind but I’m not sure I can accept this invitation. I am an outcast, the daughter of a drunk, a prostitute, and a girl who doesn’t have any friends. I have committed so many sins and I am not worthy to come to the King’s Banquet and besides I need to be here for my father.”

To this the King’s Ambassador replied, “I know all of this but see here my hands... all of your past, your sins, and your reputation do not mean anything, they don’t define you anymore because I’ve taken it upon Myself and you’ve been forgiven, these scars have bled and that blood has covered you... today you’re not the outcast or the prostitute. The King has summoned you and He wants to have a banquet with you. From tonight and for the rest of your life you will be His princess.”

I gasped, “Me?! A princess?!!!”

“Yes, a princess!” said the gentleman smiling, “Now run along because the carriage will be here soon.”

I picked up the satchel and I felt free as a bird, so much so that my feet barely touched the ground as I hurried back to the cabin. I opened up the satchel as soon as I got into my room. I gasped because there was the prettiest, shiniest, silkiest, most shimmery gown I had ever laid my eyes on. I slowly pulled it out and then I put it on. It fit perfectly. I twirled and the dress was all I had ever dreamed of, plus more. I felt like a princess. I couldn’t quit smiling. My heart felt so much peace and healing had begun to take place. I pinched myself wondering if this was really true... me? Yes, me… I was going to a banquet with the King!!!! I looked at the clock and at anytime now the carriage would be arriving. There had even been a brand new coat and everything I needed to keep warm for the one hour drive to the banquet.

We pulled up to the gate of the King’s Estate and I could hear the most beautiful inviting music coming from somewhere behind the wall. Tears started to well up in my eyes as I dismounted from the carriage. “Come follow me,” said another ambassador, “and I will show you where to go.” We entered through the gate and the scene before me was the most beautiful scene I had ever seen. It was so beautiful it took my breath away. There in front of me was a white sparkly carpeted pathway lined with evergreens and sparkling Christmas lights. As we rounded the bend in the pathway there before us stood the most majestic architecture I had ever laid my eyes on. I started crying once more because there was a large banner over the door stating...Welcome Princess!!! You are worthy, redeemed, and loved. We kept moving closer to the beautiful edifice and there was light pouring from the windows and the music became even more beautiful as we came closer. There inside the window was a table set for two people. I thought to myself, that must be for someone else, this isn’t even real. I’m only an outcast until I looked down and I saw my beautiful white dress and I remembered that I had been healed and my heart was completely whole. I was worthy and I was loved. I looked up and there in front of me was the most handsome man I had ever encountered. His radiance was shining and ruddy and everything about Him exuded peace, love, and compassion. He took me by the hand and said, “Come, my love, sit with me and let’s dine together. I have loved you ever since you were created and I have been waiting for this day for a very, very long time.” Music continued to play and we talked about life and how it had actually been. He replied and said, “My lovely daughter, you are not the daughter of the drunk from town anymore but today you are adopted into my family. Here is a ring to signify whose you really are. I looked at the expensive diamond ring and I saw a drop of blood engraved on the inside reminding me for the rest of my life that I was a daughter of the most High King… that night that changed my life forever happened many years ago... and from then even until today the King has commissioned me to be His ambassador and to stand in the gap for the orphan, widowed, poor and destitute and show them the way to the King’s palace... to remind them that there is a King who loves and cares about them. The King wants all of them at His palace for a beautiful banquet too.

Today and this holiday season but especially this Christmas may you know you too are worthy to dine at the King’s Table. We’ve all been summoned and I am looking forward to the day when we will celebrate together at the King’s Table - The Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

Merry Christmas,

Joanna


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