The Christmas Orange

Jake was an orphan.
He was one of ten children who struggled daily
for his very existence. Usually hungry, always cold,
they found little in their lives to provide enjoyment,
except Christmas. Even then, there was little enough,
though there seemed to be a little more to eat,
and the home seemed a little warmer than usual.
But more than this, there was 'the orange'.
A unique commodity indeed,
it was coveted by each child as was no other possession.

As with most things we desire,
the having of the orange was the smaller part of it's enjoyment.
It was the anticipation, the savoring of it's consumption that pressed each of them to admire, compare, hoard,
and love this orange until it was shriveled and dead;
often it was New Year's Day before they actually were eaten.

On this particular Christmas day,
young Jake had somehow offended his penurious master
in some minor way. His punishment was the loss
of his precious orange. After a year of waiting for this rarity,
it was to be denied. His impassioned declaration of remorse
was to no avail. Jake spent Christmas day alone and lonely.

The long day was finally over, and yet Jake could not sleep.
He was convinced that his world was unloving, uncaring, and unforgiving. Quietly, he sobbed for his future,
and perhaps that of the world, but mostly he cried
because he didn't have an orange.

As he lay in the stillness,
a soft hand was placed on Jake's shoulder.
Something was placed in his trembling hands.
The donor quickly disappeared among the shadows of the dark,
leaving Jake with something in his hand,
he could not immediately identify.
He nearly dropped the pieces
before he realized what he was holding.
It was an orange. This was no run-of-the-orchard orange,
but one fabricated from the segments of nine other oranges.
These nine sweet children each shared a piece of their
highly prized orange with their friend, Jake.

I will stand for truth and righteousness even if I am the only one.

~ Author Unknown ~


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