Pa rum pum pum pum

I think my favorite Christmas song is the Little Drummer Boy.  I am riding down the road a few years ago when this song comes on over the radio and its words grip my heart.  My mind clears of all other thoughts.  It is like a tender, sudden wake up call.  Since that moment in the car no other song rights my heart and centers my mind on the true meaning of Christmas than the rhythmic beat of this melody.  I am almost moved to tears every time.

I picture the scene and there is this little boy…a poor little boy…and he just wants to bring the best gift he can bring to a king, to the King.  I imagine him looking around and then realizing that all he has is his drum.  There is no tangible THING in his possessions that he can give to this tiny baby.  He can only DO…and do nothing too exceptional at that…he can only do something he has always done, something he probably does everyday.

I am more of a doer by nature than a giver.  I don’t really trust that I give the best or most thoughtful gifts.  I try.  I have fun shopping.  I really attempt to think of the person and their likes and interests.  I try not to buy something I would like so I think they would, too…I try to give something they will truly enjoy.  Still, I see myself more as a doer.

So this song captures my spirit, my self, meets me right where I am and turns me…my doing self…towards the Christ child.  I see myself as the drummer boy approaching the baby in His mother’s arms.

I find myself saying: “I am a poor girl, too.  I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give the King.  Shall I play for You?”

And, I imagine my drumming…my mothering, my husband loving, my working with clients, my teaching…and I see all of this as my drumming…and what I so want to picture, what I so want to have in response to my own “drumming” is His smile.  I want my drumming to please the newborn Christ.

That is what I want this Christmas.

So amidst all the cliché hustle and bustle and the wrapping and giving and eating, with all the parties and performances, I want more than anything to bring my gift to the King.  I want to play my drum and for Him to smile.

The “Colossians 3:23” message of this song transcends the Christmas season and prepares my heart and mind for the New Year.  It completely centers my whole reason for being.

I am alive to play my drum.

He is the only audience that matters.

He is the only one I need to smile.

I gently challenge and encourage you…when you listen to the Little Drummer Boy next time…to imagine yourself walking up to the King.  Imagine your own “drumming”…your own teaching, your preaching, your hair dressing, your stethoscoping, your deal making, your assembly line tending, your carpooling…and remember that really you only have one thing to offer the newborn Child this Christmas…your own drumming.  Relative to the King of Kings whose kingdom never ends, we are all poor children with no gift to match His endless riches.  We really only can say: “Shall I play for you?”  We each only can play our drum.

It is drumming that the Father gives us to play in the first place.  It is like the message in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  A father gives his son money so that the son can purchase a gift for his father.  The father, in essence, purchased his own gift.  The sweetness, the tenderness, the power of this story lies in the fact that the son chooses to give the gift in the first place.  This choice is what makes the father happy, what makes him smile.

Our Father gives us gifts to play for His Son.  It is His drumming He has created in us.  He is so happy when we choose to play for Him.

So, wake up, do your thing, drive to work tomorrow and imagine that you are driving to the newborn Christ.

To play your drum.  Pa rum pum pum pum.

The Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

By Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone (1958)