The Little Drummer Boy

Wow. I can’t believe that Christmas is just around the corner! When I was a child, the days from December 1 until Christmas seemed to stretch out into a year’s worth of waiting. Too bad that can’t be now that I am an adult.

Anyhow, today I want to talk about my favorite Christmas song and movie. Since the title of this blog post is appropriately named, you already know what it is: The Little Drummer Boy.

In the 1968 stop motion animation film, we meet Aaron, a young misanthrope who favors the company of animals to people. It really is no wonder that he hates people – all people. He was orphaned, abandoned, and then kidnapped and exploited by people. His family consists of three animals – a camel, donkey and lamb. He runs into the three Kings who visit Jesus just as his lamb is critically injured. He seeks their help to heal his poor little sheep. When one of them tells them that he can’t, but to look to the King of Kings, he approaches baby Jesus. As a gift, he plays his drum for the newborn baby, and his sheep is healed. His heart is changed by the experience, and he realizes that the hate that he has held in his heart was wrong.


The little drummer boy in the pivotal moment of the movie.


I Have No Gift to Bring

Aaron wanted something from the baby Jesus, and realized he probably should give him a gift. He observed the Kings bringing opulent gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. As an orphaned pauper, he had nothing physical to bestow upon the newborn. This is when he wisely gave of his time and talents. Many times, it seems like we are in this consumer driven mindset where we have to buy the most amazing gifts for our loved ones, especially during this time of year. Instead of giving things, we can give of our time and talents. These things are truly priceless, as money cannot buy them.

Many times, giving of our time and talents is so much more worthwhile than gifts bought with money.

That’s Fit to Give a King

Aaron didn’t have gold or rich gifts to give. His only talent was drumming. He could have shrank, thinking that his gift was not good enough, not appropriate for a newborn, or wouldn’t be appreciated in the slightest. He fought against that instinct, however, and played for the baby Jesus anyway. Oftentimes, we think we are not good enough, not as talented, not as smart, or not as beautiful as the next person. Our efforts would not be acceptable, so why even try. No one can give in the same way that you can. Like Aaron, we should all fight against the thought that we are not good enough. Our efforts to give to others are worthwhile and acceptable.

I Played My Best for Him

I used to be a percussionist. In high school, I played drums. It was fun, but at the same time, drums can be abrasive, loud, and even annoying at times. Drums played by children can be particularly, well, not something you would choose to listen to, anyway. It probably wouldn’t be the first instrument you would think that a newborn baby would want to hear. Yet, the baby Jesus accepted the little drummer boy’s gift because Aaron played his best for Him. We all have gifts and talents. Some, like the little drummer boy’s, may not be the most obvious (or most sought after) talents in the world. Yet, if we use our strengths and do our best at them, Jesus will accept them. Our best is good enough. Our best may not be as good as what other people do, but that doesn’t matter. And even if we don’t do our best sometimes, whatever small good thing we can do, will be accepted by Jesus.

Here I am (left) with my sister (right). I played the bass drum during marching season.

This time of year is beautiful, but at the same time very hard for some people. Other people may seem insensitive or mean. It is really difficult to be a human, and even more difficult to be a nice human. Our lives can be better if we also believe that other people are just trying their best.

Shall I Play for You on My Drum?

Our society needs everyone’s talents and abilities. It would be easy for me to think, “I don’t have the ability to physically assist other people because I’m paralyzed from the shoulders down. I don’t have anything worthwhile to offer. Why should I even try?” And, to be honest, sometimes I think these exact same thoughts. It is frustrating to want to help others in a physical way, but to literally be unable to do so. Instead, I have to focus my efforts in a different way. I have developed many talents that I use to help and bless the lives of others. I am a good listener, and I genuinely love other people. I am good at computer stuff, and I am patient with children and adults. I’m not afraid to use my talents and abilities to help others, even if I feel hesitant at first.

So, my challenge to us this Christmas/holiday season, is not to be afraid to ask, “Shall I play for you on my drum?”

An excellent version of the song.

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