Since I first heard the story of the Christmas Orange, I have enjoyed sharing it each Christmas as a reminder of what the Christmas Spirit is truly all about....
Jake was a resident of an orphan’s home, one of ten children supported by what contributions the home could secure on a continuous struggle. There was very little to eat. It was seldom very warm in the wintertime because fuel was expensive. But at Christmas there always seemed to be a little more to eat and the home seemed a little warmer, and it was time for more than the usual enjoyment. But more than this, there was the orange. At Christmas each child received an orange. 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 would save it for several days, admiring it, feeling it, loving it, and contemplating the moment when they would eat it. Many children would wait until New Year’s Day or later. Often it would start to dry out and shrivel before they would eat it, in order to extend their pleasure as long as they could.
This Christmas day, Jake had offended the rules of the home in some manner and his punishment was the loss of the orange. After a year of waiting for this most desired of all rewards, it was to be denied. Pleading was of no avail. Although the offense was rather minor, it still was an infraction of such rules that must govern. Jake spent Christmas day empty and alone. It even seemed the other children didn’t want to associate with a person who didn’t have an orange.
Night time arrived and was worst of all. Jake could not sleep. There was no love in the world. There was no forgiving. And certainly there could be no God that would permit a contrite little soul to suffer so much by himself. Silently he sobbed for the future of mankind, and the world perhaps, but mostly because he didn’t have an orange like the other kids.
Then suddenly a hand was placed on Jake’s shoulder which startled him for a moment. An object was quickly shoved into his hand. The donor disappeared into the dark of the room, leaving Jake with what he did not immediately identify as an orange. Not a regular orange, but one fabricated from segments of 9 other oranges. Nine other highly prized oranges that would of necessity be eaten this day instead of several days hence.
Since the time of Christ’s birth, the spirit of giving gifts has been present in the mind of each Christian as he or she commemorates the Christmas season. Our Heavenly Father gave to us His Son, Jesus Christ. This precious son gave us His life, the Atonement, and victory over the grave.
What will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that He “went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38) As we do likewise, the Christmas spirit will be ours.