I unapologetically love Christmas. The sights, smells, sounds. Time with friends and family. Giving gifts carefully chosen. Parties and celebrations. Good food. A momentary reprieve from the pressures of work that almost everyone honors, even clients in other countries. Less email! A reminder to pause and consider the gifts in my own life. Near the top of the list of the many things I love about Christmas is the music. Everywhere you go songs that range from the fun loving songs of Santa and his reindeer, to the deep wonder of O Holy Night, the sounds of the season are a source of both joy and peace for me.
This season the “Little Drummer Boy” has captured my thoughts and imagination. I’ve always liked it but in these past few weeks it has caused me to pause more than in previous seasons.
Everyone has heard the pa rum pa pum pum refrain and maybe you like it, maybe you don’t. There are a ton of versions out there, some amazing and some not so much! What I love about the song is that it involves the interchange of simplicity with majesty, a poor boy with a baby who was destined to change the world. If you know the song, the boy is invited to come along with those who are bringing gifts to honor this child king, and the boy goes but he has no gift. Of course, this king is not in a palace, or even a fine house. He is in a cave that is a stable with animals around and all the associated smells and sounds. There may be gold, frankincense and myrrh being offered, but in the lyrics, the boy, aware of his surroundings says “Little baby, I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give a king.” Then, he offers what he does have. “Shall I play for you on my drum?”
Next is the welcoming of that simple offer. Mary nods and the little boy plays. The lyrics say “I played my drum for him; I played my best for him.” And the response from future majesty is “then he smiled at me.” This year every time I hear that last verse about the boy offering his best and the King of the Universe offering a smile in response, I find myself teary eyed. I know it is a made up story but it illustrates for me this incredible dynamic of bringing the best offering of who we are to the table and being accepted.
The author of the song would be proud I finally got the point this year! I’ve heard the song hundreds of times over the years I have been alive, but this Christmas it made a deeper impact. I don’t have to bring to the table anything other than what I have to bring, but I get to bring my best. For my business, for my family and friends, I want to play my best for them on a regular basis. To offer up the skills and gifts I do have even when I’m not sure how doing so will matter.
For me personally it is a song about being accepted by the One who gave His life for mine. This baby in a manger who we celebrate on Christmas Day. It is about what I offer Him, but it is also about what I bring to the table in the rest of my life and what it looks like to offer who I am and what I’ve been given fully and freely to those around me.
So, on this Christmas I wish you the best of holidays. It is my hope for you that you know what acceptance and love feels like, that you have someone who smiles at you when you bring yourself to the table. If you have a moment to hear one of the best versions of the song out there, spend four minutes watching Pentatonix acapella version of the Little Drummer Boy. If you’re not careful it will revive your interest in both the song and in acapella music!