A Gift from the Heart by Janis Dalley

Written by Janis Dalley, illustrated by Lisa Dickinson.

It was just two weeks to Christmas and the Shopping Centre was full of people rushing about in a frenzy, 7 year old Zach was one of them. Christmas decorations hung heavily from the ceiling whilst Christmas Trees led the way to Santa’s Castle.

ST-Gift-from-the-Heart-image-1The line was huge, with young excited children waiting to give Santa a list of the toys that they wished to receive. Mums hopeful of a joyous photograph made faces, clapped their hands, shook toys and even played Boo, changing screams and tears into wonderful smiles.

I hope Mum’s not going to ask me to sit on Santa’s knee thought Zach, besides, I am 7 and far too old for that, Mum can take a photograph with me sitting on Pop’s knee instead.

This year had been full of unexpected surprises with Nana and Pop coming to

stay. Zach desperately wanted a bike for Christmas but didn’t think it was possible, dad’s company had closed down and he was made redundant.

ST-Gift-from-the-Heart-image-2After hours of looking in almost every store, Zach finally purchased a pair of black woollen socks for dad, a bright pink scarf for Mum and a puzzle for his best friend Timothy. Now what am I going to do thought Zach looking into his wallet

I have run out of money and I don’t have a gift for Nana & Pop.

That evening after dinner Zach decided to share his concern.

“What do you think I can do Mum?  Perhaps I could wash the neighbour’s car”.

His Mother gave him a hug, “I do have a suggestion”, she said. “You could give them a gift of the heart, why not make something? The first thing to do is to ask yourself, what would give your grandparents joy?”

Zach thought and thought and thought and thought. Pop loves watching the football and playing golf, I can’t do anything there, Nana loves the ballet—————-and then he had an idea. They are always saying how much they love me, I could show them how special they are to me. I could make them a book with stories and pictures and

call it “A Thank You Book”. I could make the cover with cardboard and paint it, and then staple all the pages together.

ST-Gift-from-the-Heart-image-3Zach commenced his project with, “I hope this book will give you lots of smiles like you have given me”.

He decorated pages with crayon drawings; reminding them of the many fun times they had shared together lovingly placing silver and gold stars everywhere.

“Thank you for being my friends,” wrote Zach, “thank you for caring about me, thank you for sharing my good times and my sad times.  I want you both to know that I will always love you.”

Three days later Zach’s book was completed. It looked wonderful, coloured blue and highlighted with a family photo on the front cover. He was pleased with himself.  He carefully wrapped it in Christmas paper and decorated it with a ribbon. Please let Christmas Day hurry up and come he thought as he placed it with his other gifts under the Christmas tree.

Zach was so excited it was hard to keep his heart gift a secret. Finally it was Christmas Eve, he looked around the room, the decorated Christmas Tree stood proudly in the corner, Christmas cards filled with good wishes sat along the mantle piece and spilled over onto the Sideboard.

I love this time of the year thought Zach, trying hard not to think of a new bicycle it is Christmas and magic does happen sometimes. He went to bed, thinking every gift is a blessing, I should be grateful for anything.

It was Christmas day and Zach awoke to the excited screams of the young children next door. He hurriedly dressed and rushed downstairs, his parents and grandparents eager to share in his joy.

“This gift is for you Dad” said Zach, “and this one is for you Mum”.

“How did you know I needed a new pair of socks? Zach, these are wonderful thank you”.

“I love my scarf Zach it is such a great colour” said Mum.

Zach turned to his Grandparents “This is my heart gift for both of you”.

Nana untied the ribbon and Pop removed the paper. Each page filled their hearts with emotion, reminding them of their fun and joyful times together.

ST-Gift-from-the-Heart-image-41“Zach You couldn’t have given us a better present. The magic of Christmas lives on in a gift created by the heart, we will treasure it always.” Pop gave him a big hug. “Zach we have a special heart gift for you too.” He took Zach’s hand and led him to the Laundry. The room looked empty. “Oh”! said Zach trying to hide his disappointment.

“I don’t have a bike”.

“No” said Pop you have an extra special gift, why don’t you look in that cardboard box over there.

“Wow!” Said Zach, “he’s so cool, what a cute puppy.” He had a dark brown wavy coat, big brown eyes, long floppy ears and a tail that wouldn’t stop wagging.

ST-Gift-from-the-Heart-image-5“I think he is very pleased to see you Zach” said Pop. Zach lifted him up holding him close to his chest. “Treat him with love and kindness Zach, and he will always be a loving and loyal friend. When you choose to give a gift from the heart, the loving energy within your own heart expands and grows, for what you give to others is always returned.  Kind thoughts and deeds have their own reward.”

“But I haven’t looked after a pet before”.  “How do I know I am doing all the right things?”

“Call on Jesus and the Angels to guide you Zach, they love you and want to help. You only have to ask”.

“What shall I call him Pop?” said Zach.

“Whatever your heart tells you” said Pop.