Dec 18

Helen Tyte

The Orange

As children my brother Matthew and I would place stockings on the ends of our beds each Christmas Eve and would be excited to unwrap the small treasures within when we woke early on Christmas Day. Every year it would be the same: an orange, a walnut and a bag of chocolate coins. My parents wanted my brother and I to remember how hard it had been for them as children, and how lucky we were to be able to dash downstairs to open more gifts that Father Christmas would have left under the Christmas tree in the front room. One year my mother even used the orange to teach me a very valuable life-lesson, but that story can wait….

Jake was a resident of a care home, one of ten children supported by small contributions the charity struggled to secure. There was usually very little to eat, but at Christmas there always seemed to be a little more, and the home seemed a little warmer. It was a time for more enjoyment, but above all else Christmas time brought ‘the orange’. On Christmas morning each child received an orange; the only time of 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, and turning it around in their hands, contemplating the moment when they would eat it. Truly, for those children, it was the best thing about this time of year.

Unfortunately this Christmas day, Jake had broken the rules in the home and his punishment was the loss of the orange privilege. After a year of waiting for this rare occasion, and this most desired of all rewards, despite apologising profusely for what he had done wrong and pleading for forgiveness, Jake would have to go without. Jake spent Christmas day miserable 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 Jake could not sleep. There surely could be no God that would let somebody suffer so much by himself? Silently, he sobbed for the unfairness of the situation, for his doubt in his faith, but mostly for the loss of the orange.

A hand placed on Jake’s shoulder startled him momentarily and an object was quickly set into his hands. The donor disappeared into the darkness, leaving Jake using his imagination to figure out what he was holding. It was an orange of sorts, not a regular run-of-the-mill orange, but one made from segments of nine other oranges. Nine other highly prized oranges, the sharing of which meant he was not alone, and restored his faith.

This year, may we all share a part of ourselves over the Christmas season. Thank you to this amazing church family for sharing time, prayers and ideas, and for sharing God’s love.

Lisa-Dawn Johnston Dec 19 22:51pm

How loving!