Pascal goes down for his daily nap right after he and Kachi share an early lunch. They're both good eaters in the first half of the day, so they sit and gobble quite a bit before he finally shakes his head and says "Na-naw" (which I think means all done). Yesterday, after I had washed his hands and face and de-crumbed his lap, I lifted him out of his high chair. He leaned past my shoulder and waved to Kachi, and said "I ya yo!" It was definitely I love you - Kachi didn't even blink, just replied, "I yuv yoo, Pa'cal," and kept on eating.
My heart! That's my boy.
I know every family is different and shows love in different ways. Some people keep the phrase "I love you" for special occasions, relying on actions to display their feelings in the everyday moments in between. But I grew up doing the exact opposite of that.
Heading out to the store? I love you!
Popping across the street to see a friend? I love you!
Dropping your mom off at work for the day? I love you!
Phoning to ask Dad for a ride home? I love you!
Heading up for a nap? I ya yo!
For us, it didn't mean less in the ordinary everyday because we said it so much. It was the little assurance, the small whisper, you matter to me. I still need those little whispers in my day. I still need to hear and say I love you when Patrick leaves in the morning, or before the kids climb onto the bus. It's just who I am. I grew up in an I love you house.
Every Christmas, we'd wake up to find an envelope tucked in among the branches and decorations on the Christmas tree. Dad would take the time to find a loooooong sappy card for mom, to tell her how much she meant to him, and sometime on Christmas Eve, he'd nestle it into the tree for her to find Christmas morning.
And that mattered too.
Everyday reminders sometimes grow dog-eared if they aren't buoyed up by something a little more special, a little more tangible. We need them both.
The little, throw-over-your-shoulder I love yous, and the elegant embossed Hallmark ones.
And now December is here and carols are ringing about a Saviour being born and lights shine out glorious in the dark and cold and Christmas is coming -
and Christmas is like that big fancy formal I love you. It shows up every year and assures us: God loves us. God loves us. God loves us.
And there are a hundred different ways He whispers it, shouts it, sings it, laughs it, paints it, creates it, all through the year. It's there all along. But in case we forget, in case the heaviness of the ordinary everyday clouds our ears to His song, at the end of every year there's Christmas.
When God sent His Love to us, a baby -
Have you heard, broken world?
I'm sending Jesus to save you - because I love you!
Merry Christmas, friends.