Next time you go shopping for oranges, take a minute to really feel an orange. Enjoy the smell, close your eyes and feel your mouth salavate as you think of eating a juicy flavorful section. There was a time in the not too distant past when an orange was considered a rare treat. We have become so accustomed to our easy access to this sweet juicy fruit we don’t treasure it as we should.
One of my favorite Christmas stories is entitled A Christmas Orange. The story is about an orphan boy named Jake. Jake lived with nine other children in a home for orphans. The home was supported by what contributions the home sould secure. The meager contributions meant very little was spent on anything not considered a necessity. There was very little to eat and in wintertime the home was almost never warm because fuel was expensive. But at Christmas time there always seemed to be a little more to eat and the home seemed a little warmer. It was a time for more than usual enjoyment; but more than this there was the orange. It was the only time of the year that such a rare item was provided, and it was coveted by each child like no other thing they ever possessed. They could save it for several days, admiring it, feeling it, loving it and contemplating the moment they would eat it. Truly it was the peice de resistance to the Christmastide – and the year – for many would wait until New Year’s Day or later to eat it. Often it would start to dry out before they would eat it, wanting to save and treasure it as long as they could.
On this particular Christmas day Jake had broken one of the rules of the home in some small manner, and his punishment was loss of the orange privilege. After a year of waiting for this rare occasion……this most desired of all rewards was denied. Jake had pleaded for forgiveness, said he was sorry, that he would do better in the future, but to no avail. Although the offense was rather minor, it was an infraction. And the home was a regulated society and obedience to the rules was required. Jake spent Christmas Day empty and alone. It seemed the other children didn’t want to associate with a person who didn’t have an orange.
Nighttime arrived, and this was worst of all. Jake could not sleep. He felt there was no love in the world…..no forgiving and certanly it wasn’t right for child to suffer so much. Silently he sobbed for the future of mankind, and the world perhaps, because he didn’t have an orange like the other kids had.
As he lay there crying, a soft hand placed on Jake’s shoulder startled him momentarily as an object was quickly shoved into his hands. The donor disappeared into the dark of the room, leaving Jake with what he did not immediately identify as an orange. It was not a regular orchard orange, but it was fabricated from segments of other oranges…..nine other highly prized oranges. Nine orphan children decided to peel their treasured oranges and give Jake enough sections to make a whole orange. This meant all of those treasured oranges would need to be eaten right away rather than kept for later.
This beautiful act of compassion showed the true loving spirit of Christmas. It is said that it is easy to share when you have plenty. The true test is sharing when you have very little to share. These little orphans gave more than treasured Christmas orange sections………they gave Jake their love and nothing is of greater value.
For now, Earlynns just sayin’