I opened my journal and read this entry from a few years ago.–
Early this morning Jenny, my eleven year old, and I went to Walmart. We were set on completing our shopping and trying to beat the crowds. Grabbing a shopping cart we began pushing it up the aisle, when all of a sudden I saw them. Oranges.
“Jenny, let’s get some oranges,” I said nodding in the direction of the display.
She walked over and began putting oranges into a bag. While she did that, my mind wondered back to December, 2002. The place-Kostroma, Russia.
“Come here, Jenny,” I said softly so as not to upset her. She was the tiniest two year old with brown hair and big brown eyes. I had only met her a few hours before.
Shyly she walked over to me tightly holding an orange.
“What a beautiful orange,” I said to her. She looked at me and then at her orange.
Each child in the orphanage had been given just an orange for Christmas. It was a special treat. A delicacy. And each child had their very own.
Jenny let me pick her up and for a while I held her softly stroking her hair.
My mind wandered back to the states where so many children got piles of presents for Christmas. This prized orange meant so much to this little one whom I had come to adopt.
Then I was jarred back to the present by the sound of her soft voice.
“Here they are Mommy,” she said looking up at me with a grin. “Aren’t they beautiful?”
“They sure are,” I said giving her a hug.
Although with the passing of years she doesn’t remember those days in the orphanage she still has faint memories of oranges and Christmas. We have made them a Christmas tradition.
Yes, the years have come and gone but oranges continue to have special meaning for us. And this year as she packed a Christmas shoebox for another little girl, she said to me,” And remember when I only got an orange.”
I squeezed her gently and watched her fill that box with so much Christmas joy. She would tell you that she is blessed and because of that she loves to give back. I am deeply moved remembering that time of having so little and now today when she can bless another child.
In a few days our family will put an orange in everyone’s stocking. Oranges continue to remind us of the great needs that exist in so many places. So many children have nothing this Christmas.
My friends, let’s continue to do what we can whenever we can. Nothing is too small.
Maybe you will get some oranges too, this year.
Millions of smiles.