The Best Present
September 2023

“The Best Present,” Friend, September 2023, 28–29.

The Best Present

What would Daddy want most for his birthday?

This story took place in the USA.

Josiah was excited. Today was Daddy’s birthday! Mama put colorful streamers in the kitchen. She made a special birthday cake too.

“We should give him presents,” Josiah said.

“Yeah!” said his little sister, Madeline. “But what?”

“I have an idea.” Josiah went to the shed. He took a few pieces of wood and glued them together to make a tiny bench.

“I picked Daddy some flowers from his garden!” Madeline held up the flowers. “Do you think he’ll like them?”

Josiah nodded yes. “I can’t wait for him to see his presents!”

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That afternoon, Josiah and Madeline sang “Happy Birthday” and ate cake with Daddy.

“Time for presents!” Josiah said. He gave Daddy his gift.

Daddy unwrapped the paper. “Wow! You did a great job. Thank you!” Daddy gave Josiah a hug.

Then Madeline gave Daddy the flowers.

“Thank you so much!” Daddy smiled. “These are beautiful.”

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Soon it was time to clean up. “Josiah, can you help clear the table?” Mama asked.

“Sure,” said Josiah. He grinned and carried the dishes to the sink.

“I can help too,” said Madeline.

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Daddy smiled big. “I feel so happy when you two are helping and being kind to each other. I know it makes Jesus happy too. That is the best present of all!”

Later Josiah and Madeline played with their toys. Josiah made a tall tower out of building blocks. It was almost as tall as he was! But then Madeline knocked it over.

“Hey!” Josiah said. “You messed up my tower!” He took a toy from Madeline.

“That’s mine!” Madeline yelled.

Daddy came over. He was frowning. He reminded them to take turns with their toys.

When Daddy left, Josiah asked, “Did you see Daddy’s face? He looked sad.”

“Why was he sad?” asked Madeline.

“He said the best present was for us to be kind,” Josiah said. “But we forgot.”

“Oh.” Madeline looked at the floor. “I’m sorry for knocking over your tower.”

“It’s OK,” Josiah said. “Sorry for getting mad. Let’s be kind for the rest of the day.”

“But what if we forget?” Madeline asked.

“Then we have to say sorry and try again to be nice,” said Josiah.

Josiah and Madeline cleaned up the blocks. Then they played a new game. When Daddy walked by, he smiled.

“I think we did it!” Madeline whispered to Josiah. “We gave Daddy a great present!”

Josiah smiled. “Yeah, we did. And it’s a present for Jesus too!”

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Illustrations by Jeff Harvey