Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

(This article was originally posted in December, 2014)

I love Christmas in the Primary Nursery! Every Sunday in December we would teach the story of Christmas by dressing up the children as characters of the Nativity. We taped yellow paper stars along the walls of the church and one very large yellow star over the place where the baby Jesus (a doll) slept in a manger (a shoebox lined with straw). Mary and Joseph led the procession, the Shepherds carried stuffed lambs, the Wise Men carried small shiny gifts, and the Angels twirled their pretty white dresses as we all followed the stars to find the Baby Jesus.

One December in particular will forever stand out to me. As our adorable class of 2 and 3-year- olds excitedly discovered the stars and almost raced down the halls to find the Baby Jesus, a number of curious adults joined the joyful throng. When the children located the large star, they gathered around the small box with the baby inside, and instinctively knelt down beside it. Without a word from any of the Nursery leaders or bystanders, the Wise Men gently placed their little gifts beside the baby inside the shoebox bed. The spontaneous reverence from these tiny children was awe-inspiring.

After a moment of gathering my emotions so that I could speak, I quietly suggested to the children that we sing a song to the Baby Jesus. I asked what they would like to sing to him, fully expecting that they would choose “Away in a Manger” or “Silent Night”, as we had practiced those songs in class. My 3-year-old grandson jumped up and excitedly said, “I know!” A pause while he thought about it. Then again, in that breathy excited voice, “I know!” Another pause. His little body was vibrating – something uncontrollable that happened when he was excited! We all waited in anxious anticipation. Finally, almost bursting with excitement, he exclaimed: “I know! How about? (a pause). How about? (another pause). How about Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah?!” He was so proud that he had come up with the perfect song! There was a long moment of silence, and a few giggles, then one of the bystanders said, “I think that would make Jesus very happy.”

So we sang Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah to Baby Jesus right there in the hallway of the church. And all the bystanders sang along. And more gathered around. And surprisingly, most everyone knew the words. And even more surprising, the words were perfect for the occasion of the birth of the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace.

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A
My oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A

Mister bluebird on my shoulder
It’s the truth
It’s actual
Everything is satisfactual

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A
Wonderful feeling !
Wonderful day !

Music by Allie Wrubel and Lyrics by Ray Gilbert

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