Saturday, December 15, 2012

12 Pearls of Christmas | Day 2 - An Inexpensive New Christmas Tradition by Christy Fitzwater

12 Pearls of Christmas | Day 2 - An Inexpensive New Christmas Tradition by Christy Fitzwater

12 Pearls of Christmas series

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

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An Inexpensive New Christmas Tradition
By: Christy Fitzwater

I was invited to play some Christmas carols on the piano for a senior-adult luncheon, but before I got up to play they had a time for the seniors to share what they remembered as  their  favorite Christmas gifts.

There was talk of new bicycles, a pony, and a new dress.

Then  one elderly man took the microphone and said, “An orange.”  When  he  was  young,  an orange  was a rare treat. As he spoke, he got choked up  and  had  to  stop  talking  to  collect himself. He explained that his Sunday School was giving an orange for anyone who memorized a Bible verse. He tearfully described earning that delicious orange  and  slowly  savoring  every bite. When he was done eating the orange, he put the peel on the furnace so it would dry, and then he chewed on the  peel.

He said with conviction, “We just don’t know how rich we are in this country.”

Christmas  is  usually  the  time when I feel broke. I tuck away money for gifts all year long,  but money  doesn’t  go  very far these days. My husband  and  I love  to spoil  our  kids  and  try  to scheme how to get them a big-ticket item. We’ve enjoyed the Christmas mornings when we’ve been  able  to  enjoy  watching  our  kids  open  such gifts  as  an  electric  guitar  or  an  iPad.

I  stopped  to imagine how our whole family would feel if, on Christmas morning, the only  gift under  the tree was a small basket cradling an orange for each of us. I  think  we  would  feel disappointment and great loss. What would we do the rest of the morning if not consumed by opening  gift  after  gift?  Where  would  the  focus  be?

Our years of wealth make thankfulness for an orange seem ludicrous.

As I processed this man’s story, I decided what we lack at Christmas isn’t money to buy nice gifts — it’s  gratitude  to  relish  the  simple  treasures  we  enjoy  every  day.

This Christmas I am going to begin a new tradition for my family, and I would invite your family to do the same. I am going to place a small basket with four oranges under the tree, along  with  a printed copy of the man’s story  of  the  orange.  We’re  going  to  pause  at  some  point  in  the morning and each hold an orange while we read the story. And then we’re going to  hold  those oranges up to our noses and breathe in the fragrance God built into it, peel it slowly, and enjoy each juicy bite. And while we eat it, we’ll each speak thankfulness to the Lord for the grace He has poured into our lives.

In that moment, we’ll know how rich we are.

Christy Fitzwater is a writer and pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the mother of a daughter in college and a high-school boy. Read her personal blog at



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