A Christmas Orange
-Fred C. Lemon-
1920 – 1973
However elusive the Christmas message may seem some years, I always take great comfort in the story of a little orphan boy whom we shall refer to as “Jake”.
Jake was one of the ten residents of a lonely orphan’s home. There was very little to eat. It was seldom very warm in the wintertime, for fuel was expensive. But at Christmastime there always seemed to be a little more to eat and the home seemed to be a little warmer, and it was a time for more than the usual enjoyment. But more that this, there was the 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 possessed. They would save it for several days. Admiring it, feeling it, loving it, and contemplating the moment when they would eat it. Truly it was the ‘piece de resistance’ to the Christmastide, and the year, for many would wait until New Year’s Day or later to eat it. Oftentimes it would start to dry out and shrivel before they ate it.
This Christmas Day Jake had broken a rule of the home in some manner and his punishment was loss of the orange privilege. After a year of waiting for this rare occasion, and this most desired of all rewards, it was to be denied. Jake’s pleading was to no avail. Although the offense was rather minor, still it was an infraction of the rules. 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.
Nighttime arrived and this was the 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 had.
A soft hand placed on Jake’s shoulder startled him momentarily and an object was quickly shoved into his hands. The donor disappeared into the dark of the room leaving with Jake what he did not immediately identify as an orange. Not a regular run-of-the-orchard orange, but one fabricated from segments of nine other oranges. Nine other highly prized oranges would have to be eaten today instead of saving them for later.
May the good Lord bless and prosper you this day and always!
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