30 Days: A Devotional Memoir
(Ambassador International 2013)
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
This is a story told by my mother to all of her children. This is a story that helped to make sense why every Christmas we had an orange. And no other orange would smell as sweet, taste as soothing, and feel as smooth as that Christmas orange.
The Christmas Orange by Betty Sue Tutor
I grew up in a large family. As a large, poor family we seldom had a Christmas tree, much less Christmas toys. We waited for Santa Claus, but usually we got an orange and a note promising presents "next year". The Christmas that always stood out in my mind was when I was around three years old.
I remember waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a lot of cars and trucks in the yard. We didn't own a vehicle, so even a few cars would seem like a lot to me back then. We had just moved into the community and had very few household items. I remember walking into a room that must have been a living room without furniture, and there were several people sitting around on the floor with boxes of food, toys, presents, fruit, and clothes in front of them.
My mom was sitting in a straight-back chair hold the baby, and someone asked, "Which one is Betty Sue?" My older sister pushed me towards the person, but I was reluctant to go as I was a very shy child. My mom encouraged me to go to them. The person who asked for me showed me a box with my name on it and said it was for me. The one thing that caught my eye was an orange. I grabbed the orange and bit into the peeling. Nothing else mattered but that orange.
The people who came that Christmas morning were from a local church. And they had heard of a poor family that had a lot of kids without a Christmas...and that was the best Christmas I ever had.
This memory had helped me understand missionaries, missions, and the true meaning of Christmas. These people were simple ordinary people going about the Lord's work, and none of them knew the impact they had on my life nor the influence they had on me as a Christian.
I shared this memory with my mom and older sister when I was eighteen years old. They were both surprised I could remember that Christmas, since I was only three years old. My mom filled me in on the circumstances: how the church had heard from the farmer, on whose land we were living, about how we were poor, without food and without winter clothing. She said she cried that day thanking God for sending those people to help us and told me to keep this memory, to share it with my kids...I did, and I have.
Every Christmas I look forward to my Christmas orange, and every Christmas I find my orange under the tree, even if I have to put it there myself on Christmas Eve. A bag of oranges can sit on my counter, but the one that tastes the best is the one I find under my Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
Praise God for ordinary people willing to go about doing the Lord's work, and thank God for Christmas morning and my Christmas orange.
Find more inspirational stories in 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir by D.M. Webb.