December 21, 2022
Oranges for Christmas
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Mercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor
Oranges for Christmas
It was Christmas, 1975, and I was in the sixth grade. I loved many things as a child, Christmas being one of those things and oranges being another! You may wonder what oranges and Christmas have in common. Well, to a young girl named Debbie, they spoke of a faithful and loving God. Let me tell you my favorite true Christmas story.
Our family had just moved from a very nice neighborhood in Costa Mesa, California, to a very poor neighborhood on Bristol Street in Santa Ana. It was the worst year we had ever had, but we were new Christians and our faith in Christ was strong. My father had lost his import/export business, and we were selling anything and everything out of our garage, which was set up like a little thrift store. We were literally living day to day, and we saw the Lord provide for us daily. My two sisters and I loved to help sell (and especially play with) all the little things, knowing we could not have them for our own.
Sunday was my favorite day when we attended church services at the downtown Santa Ana Rescue Mission where we helped serve food to the homeless. We were also allowed to indulge in some of the food that was donated. We children especially liked the day-old donuts that were donated to the mission. They were stale, smashed, and sticky with all kinds of toppings mixed together, but they were good to those of us who had to eat turnip or bean soup regularly.
My father then began to set up a thrift store for the mission and received a small commission from the sales. This helped to pay the rent, but not much else. When Mom went shopping, she would occasionally be able to afford a few small oranges that were sour and full of seeds. I would have preferred the big, sweet kind with no seeds, but beggars can’t be choosers; and being a lover of oranges, I was thankful to have anything that remotely resembled them.
At Thanksgiving, we helped serve the meal at the mission and had our meal there also. We served a ragtag bunch of fellows and some families with children, and we enjoyed the serving of the “least of these” even more than the food. A few weeks after Thanksgiving, my faith-filled mom began to pray because Christmas was coming. Even though we enjoyed serving others, Mom prayed that this Christmas God would allow us to have our own Christmas dinner in our own home. She didn’t know how that would be financially possible, but she had great faith for weeks.
Until Christmas Eve. Nothing had happened, and it was surely too late for God to answer that prayer.
Mom went into her bedroom and cried about the fact that there would not be a Christmas dinner for us. She was crying in disappointment and gave up the hope of an answer to her prayer. She began to think about how she could make the macaroni and cheese in the cupboard and the package of hot dogs in the fridge special, but to no avail. Hot dogs were hot dogs, but this was Christmas! I remember that the rest of us were in the living room watching the football game on TV, oblivious to mom’s inner turmoil, but wondering what tomorrow would bring.
In this small room was a large artificial tree with all the trimmings from previous years, but there was not much under it except a few small trinkets Dad and Mom found at the mission thrift store. I still remember the little box that opened with a snap and held a little Indian and his maiden dressed in leather and beads. But I can’t remember which football team was winning when the doorbell rang.
Dad grudgingly got up to answer the door. Standing at the door was a man and his wife whom my dad did not recognize. “Hello, um, would there happen to be a Suzanne living here?”
Dad answered in the affirmative as Mom came out of the bedroom.
“Oh, we found you! We’ve been driving all over Santa Ana looking for you!” Mrs. Carr and Mom were homeroom mothers together. The Carrs were a family with nine children. Mom quickly invited them in. “No, thank you. We have other plans, only we had to find you first!” They said they had no idea where we lived, but they prayed, and God wound them around and directed them to our small white house on the corner. They were as amazed as we were that they had found us. We were aware that the Scripture, “The Lord directs our steps” was being played out right in front of us.
Then it happened.
They began passing us boxes of food. Inside was the biggest turkey you ever saw, a huge ham, Christmas candies—you know, the shiny ribbon kind—nuts of all kinds, fruits, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and on and on with all the trimmings you could possibly think of for the finest Christmas meal! Dad was laughing, Mom was crying, and my sisters and I were wide- and misty-eyed and smiling from ear to ear.
We all learned that Christmas Eve night that God loved us so much and wanted to bless us and strengthen our faith. He had not forgotten us but had found a family that would be His hands that Christmas Eve and bring a Christmas meal in His Name. God revealed to us that He is faithful to answer prayer even, and sometimes especially, when we have lost all hope.
Back to the oranges.
Mr. and Mrs. Carr said that the Lord had told them to go to the store and buy the best of everything for our Christmas dinner; and, not only that, but he told them specifically what to buy. It was like a love gift straight from the God of Christmas to us.
What spoke of God’s love for that sixth grade, red-haired little girl, and what I remember most in all those boxes were the biggest, sweetest, brightest oranges I had ever seen and not a seed to be found in the whole bunch! It was that Christmas Eve in 1975 that the Lord revealed Himself to a young girl’s heart in a new way. And I can forever celebrate and say, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who puts his trust in Him” (Psalm 34:8).
Editor’s Note: Find this story and more in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Winter 22-23 issue.
We give thanks together for you and with you for the continuing gift God has given us to keep His children Home. Where They Belong.
Merry Christmas from all the staff and their families to all of you and yours!
Twelve Names of Christ for Christmas! Celebrate Christ by learning to treasure the gift of His Name this Christmas. Twelve days; twelve names: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Savior, Jesus, The Lamb of God, The Light of the World, The Good Shepherd, and The Alpha and Omega. A twelve-day family Bible reading plan with activities for children included. Bring Christ back into focus this Christmas! See YouVersion’s Bible.com Bible reading plans and search for “Twelve Names of Christ for Christmas”.
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Congratulations to our October winner, Tonya Sinner from Minnesota!
for the month of December
Susanna’s Midnight Ride and Dolley Madison and the War of 1812
Susanna’s Midnight Ride: The Girl Who Won the Revolutionary War tells how a 16-year-old girl exhibited unbelievable bravery and thereby changed the course of history. The tale unravels over twenty-six chapters. The book also includes an epilogue, afterword, and acknowledgments. It is 219 pages.
The Study Guide for Susanna’s Midnight Ride is sixty-one pages long. It includes one page of academic information and how it applies to Virginia Standards of Learning, a page about the author and the book, and two pages on the House Joint Resolution No. 649 for Susanna Bolling Day. (She truly deserves her own day!) The study guide devotes one page to each chapter of the novel. Answers are included.
Dolley Madison and the War of 1812: America’s First Lady consists of thirty-two short chapters plus an epilogue, author’s note, selected bibliography, and acknowledgments. Also included are four of Dolley Madison’s favorite recipes woven into the story. The book is 237 pages long.
The Study Guide for Dolley Madison and the War of 1812 is seventy-two pages long. It includes two pages of academic information and how it applies to Virginia Standards of Learning, a page about the author and the book, and a complete synopsis of the story. The study guide devotes one page to each chapter of the novel. Answers are included.
McNamee’s novels are examples of living books at their finest. These are stories from long ago that seem to be taking place in real-time. McNamee wrote in first person and present tense, allowing readers to live the adventures and fully experience these historical moments. Readers and listeners will feel the characters’ emotions, picture the surroundings, join the excitement, and even smell the smells of the settings.
This is part of a review of two historical novels Susanna’s Midnight Ride and Dolley Madison and the War of 1812. Read the full review on our site which includes more details about the stories and accompanying study guides.
Go to the contest page of our site where you can ENTER TO WIN Dolley Madison and the War of 1812 and the accompanying study guide.
Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Go to Bible.com’s Bible Reading Plans for the Twelve Names of Christ for Christmas, a family Bible Reading Plan with a devotion for the parents and activities for the children. Bring Christ to the forefront of your Christmas celebrations with this simple 12 day reading plan written by Deborah Wuehler, senior editor of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
This free product and more are found in our 2022 Freebie Directory: TOS Freebie Directory – The Old Schoolhouse®
Find recipes, traditions, and stories from staff and favorite authors in The Old Schoolhouse® CHRISTmas Greetings edition. In it, you can read about Deborah’s Oranges for Christmas, a true story of God’s provision.
Find more freebies at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Store: Freebies Archives – The Old Schoolhouse®
Share this newsletter with a friend, and be sure to let those CONSIDERING homeschooling know about the enormous FREE info-pack which awaits them here: www.TryHomeschooling.com.
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