Re-reading over last year’s Christmas letter for ideas, trying to remember what a crazy year it was. In the words of the semi-verbal little people, last year was “Happy Ya-Ya Sha-bup Year.” No, that’s not Rebecca Wells’ newest sequel. That was baby Ellie slang for “Bring it!” Of course, it was also used for “Hooray!” and “Welcome to my mouth,” and other indecipherable things.
Another interesting item of note, we prayed a lot last year. Every night before bed, in fact, Ellie began requesting it. “Pway, Daddy?” We’d scrunch our eyes shut and thank God for Kipper and toothpaste and the slide and pray for the nice park and the hot fire in the fireplace and for Kipper. And silly Daddy would pray for teething, for no tummy aches or random wakefulness at 3 and 4 am, all the while grateful for such a good, healthy, smart kid, such a sensitive thinker and adventurous swimmer, hopper and spinner, and how thrilling it was to hear this unexpected child using her new-found words, telling things what time it was: “It’s time to spin, bunny!”
It was nothing short of amazing how she gained personality and new preferences each week. We couldn’t believe all the growing tastes and opinions. Never before had we realized so unavoidably the relentlessness of God. He pursues us and you can’t escape. When she’d count to 20—every time forgetting fifteen and repeating eighteen—when she’d recite her favorite books, when she’d ask to sing “eetsy-beetsy,” we felt assaulted by an insidious need to thank God for such love. Just normal, everyday parenting stuff, but until then, such unconditional love wasn’t appreciated, at least not as fully. Before her, I could not understand the pride God feels for us. But I get it now. He loves us beyond any ability to reason.
This year, we’re still thankful for the reminder, the new realizations of his love throughout the year as Ellie grows and teaches us still more. In the midst of the busy season, I hope you’ll take a moment to say, “Happy, ya-ya sha-bup, God!” And bring your gifts to his feet, knowing they’ll never compare.