new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

’tis the season to eat mandarins

In our home growing up, no Christmas stocking was complete without mandarin oranges. I don’t know if any other family has that tradition, but that was ours – along with piling into mum and dad’s bed to open the presents.

As the presents were being opened, once the initial excitement of seeing what everything was had passed, out from the recesses of our Christmas bag would come the mandarin oranges. And as we further explored our new acquisitions the oranges rapidly disappeared – taking the edge off rumbling tummies. Over the years, the one or two stocking-filler mandarins gradually become a whole bag tucked away in our stocking.

It struck me this morning how perfect they were for that. Have you ever considered the orange family?

If you were going to design a package to hold liquid, would you ever come up with the ‘orange’? Think about it. You have bag of juice, and you can unwrap it, and the liquid doesn’t go anywhere. You can break it into segments and the liquid still doesn’t escape. Then you can actually bite a segment in half and still the juice doesn’t leak all over the place – for the juice is contained in little packets inside each segment and only when they are burst does juice escape.

And the skin that covers the segments and that encloses the little juice sacks is tasteless – unlike the peel. Imagine what oranges would have been like if that skin had a strong flavour like the peel. You couldn’t have eaten them.

There is something about mandarins and oranges in general that reeks of design. It’s just too clever – and it’s almost as if they were designed with small children in view. They are perfect to hand to children in bed on Christmas morning or in the car when travelling – on the other hand when you give them a man-made carton of orange juice, they manage to spill it and get the juice everywhere!

For me it’s just another example of God’s incredible creative powers – after all, what biological reason is there for oranges to contain their juice that way? None that I can think of, yet it seems to be perfectly suited to mankind. And it’s not the only one – look at the variety of ways God packages juice. The apple, for example, is completely different – the juice is held in tiny cells distributed throughout the apple, so that even when a bite is taken there is no significant leakage.

Even our fruit bowl speaks to us of God, the wisdom of God, and of how God gives good things to his creatures.