Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Orange in the Toe

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.
  1. 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."
  2. 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 shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and       plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities" - John Piper
  1. 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)
  2. 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.

25 Joining in with more words:

Vee said...

Okay, Janette, I have a few questions. So, the literal orange in the stocking was for anchoring the stocking? I remember my grandparents telling that the orange in their stockings meant far more to them than it did for me. They were expensive and hard to come by some years.

I love the not trying to explain everything! Guilty here, too. One thing a friend recently shared with me was to say whatever I feel to say, but allow God to add the weight behind the words...IF there even was any weight to be added.

Your lessons are so neat...ever thought of collecting them into a devotional for printing?

Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

No the true meaning is much more as your grandparents said...for my illustration it is anchoring my stocking!
Thanks Vee...you always have a cherry to put on top!

Debbie said...

Good morning Janette! I just knew that the filling of your stocking was going to be packed full of treasures that we can all glean from. I am so glad you are doing this. There was lots to dwell on and contemplate here. Enjoy your day! Thanks for all your prayers. How I appreciate it. I think (so far anyway, haha) I am feeling LOTS better today! Hope your daughter does too! HUGS

Theresa said...

Hi Janette! I love Patricia Polocco's books but haven't heard of this one. I'll have to see if I can get it at the library. I think my favorite is Chicken Sunday which I try to read to the children each Easter time.
I've got to get back to reading Oswald Chamber's devotionals online. Love that too!

Angel said...

Janette, Your post is like a sweet-tasting orange, so full of truth and dripping with goodness. I love the quotes, love your insights, love that I do not have to explain myself to others. And you are correct, this is freeing. So is the idea of capturing the "freshness of vision I had in childhood." Thank you for sharing all these great thoughts as we enter into this holiday season. Blessings!

myletterstoemily said...

oh you! you have four wonderful posts
chock full of great truth here!

the truth i am seeking is to live in wonder
at the Lord's goodness, great and small.

thank you for being the best, best, best

Christine said...

You have the best ways of looking at each season, summers were sand pails.
Now, your lessons of the stockings.

Bless you!

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Just perfect. Much sweetness n nourishment!
ps thanks for the encouagement to just stay n pay Blogger ;-)

Sonja said...

oh so good Janette! We've had the food for the tummy, now this feeds the soul! East Texas was beautiful.

Sally said...

We, also, got oranges in our stockings. More for how they filled it up. My mom was a wizard at making Christmas special on a shoe-string budget; making fruits, nuts and underpants seem like special gifts.

Rebecca said...

What a great post (again), Janette.

(My husband is great at dealing with the passion for vindication. It's harder for me.)

Clementines are our oranges this week. (I found a small bag on the "oops" shelf at the grocery and find they are flavorful and fine.)

Pom Pom said...

I'm ordering that PP book! We had oranges in our stockings, too. I remember finding an old Christmas orange in the toy box weeks after Christmas.

Vickie said...

Hi Janette - as always, you turn a simple act or thought into a life lesson for us. I so enjoy coming to see what you're up to and along what vein your thoughts are flowing. I'll be thinking differently about that orange in my stocking!

Debbie said...

We have always stuffed an orange in the toe of the girls' stockings. We both had oranges in the toe growing up. I never really knew where the tradition began. I do love how you tied it into anchoring the stocking you are "stuffing" this season.

I love the theme, btw.

And the thoughts of those mighty saints of God were and are SO inspiring to me. I thought that I had a favorite one (not explaining/defending myself) but in the end, I really was struck by all of them.

I am particularly moved by the uniqueness and wonder of each day lately. I pray that I never take for granted just how majestic His works are.

Debbie Petras said...

I'm soaking in all this 'food for the soul'. Keep your chin up and your knees bended friend. I love your attitude. And don't ever forget that ...you matter!

Blessings and love,

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I am going to try to remember to keep this "orange" in my stocking, too, Janette. Thank you, sweet friend. blessings ~ tanna

Maryann said...

So much food for thought, much that I can apply to my own life right now.
I had put my Oswald Chambers up on a self, perhaps it's time to take it down....love what you shared

Sue McPeak said...

What a wonderful tradition and memory to carry on and pass along. Thanks for sharing and for the scriptures. Another example of Christmas is all about Christ.

Thanks for your visit to CollectInTexas Gal. I so appreciate your visit and comment.

Brenda Lazzaro Yoder, said...

I absolutely love this. There is so much truth in this. Not explaining myself? I needed to hear that. I walked away from a conversation yesterday where I felt I had said too much...explaining myself. Thank you for your words of truth.

Ginny Marie said...

I just love Patricia Polacco's books! I need to find that one. Your posts make great devotionals for us, Janette!

Your Heart of the Home said...

Hey janette.. its your long lost friend from Glass of sweet tea.. I have not been blogging lately..but just updated my http://yourheartofthehome.blogspot.com/ and wanted to swing by and say Hi.. I think of you and my blogging friends often.. Hope you had a wonderful thanksgivng and have a blessed christmas.. swing by Your Heart of the Home and say hi.. I would love to hear from you..

Lisa said...

Thanks for a great post, Janette! I too struggle with trying to explain myself . Just this week I had a situation. I'm learning to just let the Lord handle it. I'll never forget the advice I received from my children's doctor. He said, "Never explain. Your friends don't need an explanation and your enemies won't believe you.."


I am enjoying those ordinary moments, as well.


ps. We got an orange and a little bag of hard Christmas candy in our stockings.

Sarah (Nikki) said...

First...breathing from your truths and 'oranges in the toe.' And being Jewish and never having celebrated Christmas before being a believer...it's been a learning for us. Now we do the stockings but never thought of putting an orange in the toe of it. Mostly candies get pushed in there. Have a great Saturday Janette....

Sue W said...

Hi Janette, I found your posting through the blog Live and Learn with Sally. I thought you might be interested in the posting I did last year about An Orange for Frankie, one of my all-time favorite Christmas books for children. I am a retired school librarian and HS English teacher; now I am a doting grandmother who blogs about books. Hope you stop by and visit. I will be browsing more of your blog tonight!


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