I like my oranges “orange” in color, smooth with slightly dimpled skin and blemish free…even it takes injections of chemicals and dyes to produce this appearance. I did not know this about myself until recently.
I ordered a box of Florida oranges from a friend’s daughter who was selling them as a fundraiser. When the huge box arrived I was thrilled. The scent of citrus permeated from the cardboard crate. I opened it and discovered quite sampling of oranges. Some were pale orange, some had a green tint and some were indeed “orange”. All were marked or scarred to some degree. They were kind of ugly.
My dismay was quickly alleviated when I saw an insert from the owner of the grove from which they arrived.
The letter assured us the color variations, specifically the greenish hues, were due to a lack of cooler temperatures in Florida this fall and not indicative of ripeness. The scar marks were also a natural result of branches from the trees brushing against the fruit in the wind. They promised we would not be disappointed with their oranges, they were surely ripe and juicy. They were proud of their effort to NOT use chemicals or dyes to alter their appearance.
I had reservations as I cut the first orange in half. Sure enough, the fruit inside was bright, sweet and very juicy. As a matter of fact, every orange thus far has been wonderfully ripe and yummy. Still, every time I set my knife to make the first cut in another ugly orange, finding it to be perfectly delectable is entirely unexpected.
As I hold one of the oranges in my hand, I think of all the unexpected things in my life, and am reminded of the blessings and joy that often can be found even in the unexpected.
This season we celebrate a JOY unexpected.
Unexpected, would surely describe how Joseph saw the news that his young bride-to-be was pregnant.
Goodness knows Mary handled her unexpected pregnancy with grace and obedient courage.
The Shepherds had no reason to expect an angelic encounter in the field.
The people in the town of Bethlehem had no expectation for the child born while they slept.
The wise men, who even studied prophecy, could not have expected to meet this “king” as a toddler in simple surroundings.
In an unexpected place, in an unexpected way, at an unexpected time, He came to us.
JOY to the world!
This season I will look at oranges differently. A perfect orange or an ugly orange…each is a reminder of that first Christmas long ago…a baby…wrapped in swaddling cloth, tucked in the arms of a young mother not of noble birth, in a place meant for cattle and sheep…the King of kings, our Savior, the hope of the world.
“And the angel said unto them, fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY, which shall be for ALL people, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10&11