The Christmas Orange
Jake lived in an orphanage with nine other boys his entire life. During the wintertime any extra money went for coal to heat the old buildings. Times were tough, but throughout the holiday season the buildings always seemed a little warmer and the food more plentiful.
With Christmas approaching, excitement filled the orphanage. The boys were anticipating a special gift and a treasure that was greatly desired.
On Christmas morning each child received an orange. It was the only time of the year such a rare treat was provided and it was coveted like no other thing that they possession. Each boy would save his orange for several days and admire the special gift. It would be savored until the moment it would be eaten.
Some would keep their orange until New Year’s Day or later, much like many of us admire our Christmas tree and decorations until after the New Year to remind us of the joy of Christmas.
This particular Christmas Day, Jake had broken an orphanage rule by pushing one of the other boys. The orphanage mother immediately took away Jake’s orange and he was sent to his room as punishment for his actions.
Jake spent Christmas Day empty and alone. Nighttime came and he could not sleep. Silently he sobbed thinking that this year he would not have an orange to cherish with the other boys.
A soft hand placed on Jake’s shoulder had startled him and an object was quickly shoved into his hands. Then the child disappeared into the dark and leaving Jake alone to discover a strange looking orange resting in the palms of his hands. It was an orange made from the segments of nine other oranges and ever so carefully placed back into the orange peel. There were nine highly prized oranges that had to be eaten that Christmas night, instead of admired and cherished until a later date.
Jake held in his little hands the true meaning of Christmas, the ultimate gift – a touch of human kindness. It wasn’t delivered in a fancy package or tied with a bow, for it came in the quiet hours of the night and expecting nothing in return. This simple little gift was given with the genuine love and intent to mend the heart of a wounded child, with a silent whisper that others care.
Angela Smith & Marty Cowburn