Somewhere along the timeline of stuffing the stockings during my childhood days and all the way into my parenting-stocking-stuffing days was carried the tradition of putting an orange in our stockings. I never thought about the why, I just knew at the end of pulling out all my goodies that the toe of my stocking would be stuffed with a beautiful orange.
Our Christmas collection of books holds a Christmas book describing how oranges were given during the holidays; this story is one of the best of Patricia Polacco's works. This book added more meaning to the oranges in our stockings and this year, I researched where the tradition began.
I believe God gave me an orange to put in the toe of my stocking. The truths that He poured out during my devotional will hold my stocking steady from swinging out of place. The orange of truth will allow other joys of the season to be pure delight, if I grasp what His truths are teaching me.
Here are truths He unfolded for me while grounding my stocking for this season.
- Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers - "Beware of 'the cares of this world' Mark 4:19 - they produce the wrong attitudes of the soul...refuse to be swamped by the cares of this world
Wow! Isn't that a toe supporting truth? During this season, I am not to focus on the cares of this world.
- Another distraction is our passion for vindication - Don't say "I must explain myself" or "I must get others to understand" - Jesus never explained anything. He left the misunderstanding and misconceptions of others to correct themselves.
This second truth from Chambers will become my motto for ending this year and I hope it becomes how I walk into the future. If this truth alone is all that comes from stuffing my stocking, I will be transformed. Over the last few days I have stopped over and over again to think, "I don't need to explain!" Truly life freeing!! I know there is a balance here, but I am one who tries tooooooooooooooooo many times to explain myself, and usually it never helps matters anyway.
The Lord knows me; therefore, He also gave me some practical ways to enter this season.
- Drink in the remedies of God in nature- Dr. Clyde Kilby, "He pleads with us to stop seeking mental health in the mirror of self-analysis, but instead to drink in the remedies of God in nature."
- Stop being unamazed by the strange glory of ordinary things - instead be awed by an awakening amazement at the strange glory of those same ordinary things.
- I will not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work! (Now that is a keeper during the season of such materialism)
- I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a while, to be in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."
This word has been for me all year. God has said over and over again... to be more childlike. When I stop and just see the world through Benjamin's eyes, this becomes very easy... and oh the joy!
The last and final word through my devotionals out of John Piper's Taste and See, along with Utmost for His Highest placed the large orange fruit into the toe of my stocking.
"Not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment."
Now my stocking will hold all the other treasures of this season of life. I am anxiously watching for each surprise, just like I did all those years ago as a child.