The Real Message of “The Little Drummer Boy”

The Real Message of “The Little Drummer Boy”

 

Even before I was baptized, I was moved by the Christmas song, “The Little Drummer Boy.” It gave me shivers, and if I tried to sing along, my voice would break over the lyrics “I have no gift to bring…”

Just last week when my spiritual friends and I were sharing and discussing songs through which God speaks to us, all of a sudden a light bulb went on.

The plot of the song is simple: Drummer boy comes to the manger to see the “newborn king.” He has no gift on the level of frankincense and gold, so he feels inadequate. He offers to drum. Mary nods. He drums his very best. Baby Jesus smiles.

I identified with the drummer boy, even though I was a girl and couldn’t drum. I wasn’t really poor, but I felt poor in gifts to give God. I felt like an impostor, not worthy to be standing in God’s presence. Hence, those lyrics choked me up.

Until last week, I interpreted the song to mean that whether we know it or not, we all have something to give God. We have a talent, and God wants us to use it, just like in Luke 19. So, when the poor, little, boy (all aspects to make him insignificant) picks up his sticks and drums like mad, Jesus smiles. He is using his talent and offering it to God. Well and good.

But here’s the new Aha! I turned my mind for a second to the music of the song, letting the lyrics rest for a moment. What is the insistent drum beat saying? It provides a cadence throughout the song, not just when the boy drums.

My mind was opened to another facet of meaning. The drumbeat is the heartbeat. All the boy needs to do is live, be, abide in the presence of the Lord, and the Lord will smile.

Too many of us still think we have to DO something to earn God’s love. We think God needs us to give him gifts. We think he craves sacrifice, when he tells us clearly that he does not. He wants us to be who he made us to be and to enjoy our gifts—not to please him but to function in harmony with our design. When we are “firing on our wiring,” Jesus smiles.

So, what were you designed to be?

group of people playing drums during daytime

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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