The Sweetest Christmas Story- part 4

Dec 18, 2017

My days were spent visiting my soon to be adopted little girl,

sipping hot tea in the big conference room and playing simple games with her.

At first she was very shy and kept her beautiful eyes with those long eyelashes lowered.

But gradually she began to meet my eyes for just a second

before looking down again at what she was doing.

A dish of hard candy was on the table and from time to time

I offered her little bits of sweets.

This went on for a few days – morning and afternoon.

At the same time halfway around the world

my oldest daughter was counting the days.


waiting for me to fly home on Christmas eve.

What do you do for Christmas? I asked the orphanage workers.

I knew their Christmas was in early January and I wondered how they celebrated in the orphanage.

The kind workers shook their head and mentioned one word. Orange.

An orange? I asked.

Carefully they explained that each child got one orange. That was their Christmas gift.

It was and still is hard for me to imagine getting one orange for Christmas.

That’s all.

But there were so many children to care for –

the needs were great

they could do so little.

An orange.

And then my thoughts move  forward to that day

when my tiny little dimpled darling

came into the big conference room

tightly holding an orange in her small hands.

She walked over to where I was sitting.

I stooped toward her knowing that this was her Christmas gift.

Her only Christmas gift.

She tightened her grip on that orange

clearly showing me that she was not about to share it. No way.

Halfway around the world we celebrate with toys and food a-plenty.

My heart longed to do more,

to give more

to share of all that I had with  all the children in that orphanage.

That day at the end of our visit

Jenny walked with the orphanage worker to the big gray door

still gripping her orange in her hands.

Little did she know that in a few weeks I would be coming back

to take her home

to her forever family. And ten thousand oranges.

Yes, I see oranges with new eyes these days,

They seem almost insignificant here

but in many places around the world

they represent plenty and abundance.

In a world that struggles with poverty, disease and extreme hardships

it often takes so little

to make a big difference.

Thoughts of those orphans holding their oranges

cause my heart to ache with sorrow.

Lord, open our eyes.

Help us to see what You see.

Teach us to love. And to give.

Soon I would be leaving Kostroma to fly home to the States.

But this image would stay with me





  1. Roland Crim

    We too often don’t realize all that we have been blessed with here in America. I had the chance to live one year on the island of Okinawa. I was 13 years old, so I can still remember many things about being there. When I came back to America I knew more of the blessings God has shed on our country.

    An orange? Wow, it would make my heart ache to see that situation, yet I know in many places this is the situation.

    Thanks for continuing to share this important event from your life.

    God bless you!

    • SharonBrani

      You understand, don’t you, Roland> It’s hard to explain but those trips and seeing the plight of so many people with my own eyes created within me a passion to do more, to give more, to share Jesus more,etc. Thank you for your kind words. I deeply appreciate them.

  2. Jenny

    What a tender story and good reminder of the blessings God has heaped upon us.

    • SharonBrani

      Thank you very very much for your kind words. It gives me great joy since the story is yours. I love you always. Mama


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