Just recently I was singing the Christmas song, “Little Drummer Boy.” While singing it I had an image of the little boy feeling discouraged as he watched everyone bringing their finest gifts to lay before the King and realizing he had no gift to bring. Then the thought struck me that I had always assumed the little drummer kid was a great drummer, a child prodigy, but more than likely he wasn’t. Great kid drummers are rare.
I have personal experience with kid musicians. All four of my daughters play an instrument and my wife and I insisted that if we were paying for lessons they had to practice every day. We were adamant about this until my second daughter decided she wanted to play the violin. A kid learning to play the violin in a tiny apartment was a real test of our ability and desire to be good parents. So, I believe, parents of drummers have a special place in heaven. A few wrong notes on the violin can’t even compare to the constant Pa Rum Pum Pum PUM’ING of a drum. I’m a drummer and have a special place in my heart for drummers, but that would be painful.
I started thinking about the words to the “Little Drummer Boy” song, but this time viewing the song from Mary’s perspective. I imagined Mary’s pleasure at watching everyone come and shower her child with fine gifts. This would delight any parent. However, in the midst of this she was sensitive enough to see this little boy’s disappointment at not having a gift to bring. While others brought tangible gifts, he realized the only gift he had to give was the gift of himself. As a musician myself, I know that playing music can be a creative and intimate way of expressing my feelings. So, I believe the drummer kid wanted to express his love through his drum. He was so pleased that Mary said “yes” that he wanted to play better than he ever had before. This beautiful gesture brought a smile to the face of the baby Jesus.
This Christmas season as you listen to the song, imagine that the drummer boy is an unskilled beginner, just a noise making kid. Picture Mary peering past the banging drum and seeing his intentions, his heart, and his desire to give his all. Imagine Mary receiving his imperfect display of love like only a mother can and recognizing his sincere expression of love pounded through his drum.
Then, imagine what it would have done to the little boy if she had rejected his gift or told him his drum was too loud or he just wasn’t good enough. Mary understood what her nod of approval would do for this little boy.
So, this Christmas pay close attention. I’m sure there are drummer boys in your midst. Ones who feel they have nothing to give or that they aren’t good enough, but who still need your loving nod of approval. They need you to see past their flaws and see their intentions, heart, and desire. When you see like this you will be using the lens that Mary used and this will bring a smile to the face of Jesus . . . because this is the same lens that He sees you through . . . Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum! Merry Christmas!
AUTHOR: Rodney Gaskins