Drummer Boy

I love Christmas. I love the season, I love the anticipation, the music. I love the gift buying and wrapping (and the fun that goes along with trying to manage the scissors and tape from escaping). I love the Christmas programs (Catholic school) and celebrations. One night, the girls and I were discussing our favorite songs. Peanut’s is “Silent Night”, Bug’s is whatever she learned that day, and Bit’s is all of them. My two favorite are “O Holy Night” and “Little Drummer Boy”.

The music of O Holy Night is just a beautiful piece of music, in my opinion. It’s just gorgeous and, depending on my mood, can bring to me tears.

The Little Drummer Boy, it hits me as a mom, now. As a mom, and not a theologian, I’m sure I get it all kinds of wrong, but I’m okay with that. It’s still about how it affects me.

Come they told me
A new born King to see
Our finest gifts we bring
To lay before the king
So to honor Him
When we come

In the first stanza (as I define them), the Drummer Boy is told to go see the King and bring the best gifts. Yes – the King has come, and we can go to bow before him.

We often go to the newborns and bring them presents for their joining us in the world. We teach our kids this, we get excited when families announce their additions. While we don’t bow before the newborns, we sure spend time enjoying them.

Little baby
I am a poor boy too
I have no gift to bring
That’s fit to give our King
Shall I play for you
On my drum

In the next stanza, the Drummer Boy indicates his unworthiness. He has no money and no gifts. He thinks on what he has to give, and his gift is musical ability on the drum. He offers all of what he has.

On my desk, I have a rock. It’s a small, pinkish sort of rock that has no value. And yet – it’s priceless to me. Bug gave it to me once. It’s all she had to give me. (She gave it with a hug, too). She offered to me, all of what she had, the best of what she had. Wow… What a gift.

Mary nodded
The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for Him
I played my best for Him

In the third one, Mary nods at him. The supporting cast helps, and The Drummer Boy does his absolute best with what he has.

I try to teach my kids this; do your best with what you have.  You have your gifts, be they personality traits (charisma, persistence, open-hearted), artist gifts (music, drama, writing), athletic (running, softball). Not all of us have the same gifts, and we can work really hard to gather new skills. But whatever you do, with what you have, your best is all you can give, and is what you should give as often as you can…

Then He smiled at me
Me and my drum

In the last stanza, the reward is merely a smile. It’s also not a monetary gift. This is what gets me… How often do I just smile at the girls for what they’ve done or said. Or just who they are. How often have I rewarded them with my genuine affection for doing their level best? Or have I said “do better next time” (or something significantly more harsh)? They don’t need more stuff (trust me, if its in the Target toy aisle, we probably have it, or have had it!) But my time and my smile, the best of what I have to give, do I give it to them?

That’s why I love this song. It hits home in so many ways, and really sums up what I wish to pass on to my children.

(Pictures by Megan Stans of meganstans.com)


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