Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Plans for Christmas: Lessons I'm Learning, part 2

One of my favourite Christmas songs is "Little Drummer Boy." As a bit of a treat to get myself into the Christmas spirit, yesterday I downloaded (and paid for - a big step for me ;) ) Josh Groban's Christmas CD Noel. One of its feature songs is a lovely rendition of this great song. As I've been listening to the song over and over and over, I have been especially inspired by it. Here are its lyrics, with the pa rum pum pum pum's removed:

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.
Little Baby, I am a poor boy too. I have no gift to bring that's fit to give the King. Shall I play for you on my drum?
Mary nodded, the ox and lamb kept time. I played my drum for him, I played my best for Him. Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.

Picture with me a little poor boy. He's barely old enough to work to help support his family: maybe 9 or 10. His only talent is that he's got rhythm, so he walks the streets playing on his little drum, hoping to get paid for accompanying funerals or weddings or the like. One day he hears about this baby who is the talk of the town, so he goes to visit the child that was born in a barn. When he gets there, something in him connects immediately with this infant, and he wants to give the baby something special, or maybe a gift for the mother. But he has no money, in fact he still hasn't made anything today and he still needs to buy bread for his family before going home tonight. So he timidly asks the mother, "Would it be alright if I play my drum for him, just a little?" The mother nods and smiles at the boy, who then starts banging out a beat. It's a catchy beat, and he totally gets into it. The mother is tapping her toes. The baby in his mother's arms feels the rhythm from the drum, flowing through his mama, feels the motion in his mother's legs, and lets out a joyful baby giggle.

Isn't this what a life of faith is all about? Giving God whatever it is we have, whatever it is we enjoy, whatever it is we're going to do anyway! No more, no less: it's just living our lives, knowing that he's smiling down at us as we're smiling up at him.

This afternoon as I listed to the song for about the 47th time, I started to think of that classic film Chariots of Fire. One of the main characters, Eric Liddell, is a very religious man who is an extremely fast runner. The film makes it seem like he could run the sprinting competitions in the Olympics in his sleep. And this is what he says about running: "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." He ends up a missionary in China, but before he goes to do that, he runs. Running is his way of smiling at God and he knows that he's being smiled upon as well.

I like that story because I love running. If I were racing Eric Liddell, he could probably start the 100 metre with a full kilometre's disadvantage and still beat me. I'm not a fast runner. But I love it, and I can relate to what Liddell said about it being a spiritual experience (but not the part about being fast).

This afternoon, thinking of the drummer boy who had nothing but his music, something he loved doing anyway, and Eric Liddell, I was so encouraged. Here I am in between jobs, not sure where I'll be in two day's time, and even less sure what I'll be doing. But that all fades in the everyday glory of living my life, doing the things that I can do, that I enjoy, and that I can do well. Like writing. Like running. Like visiting with friends. Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.


Melanie N. Brasher said...


What a beautiful reminder. I've been thinking about the boy and his two loaves these days...sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all of the needs around me, but the Lord has been reminding me that I need only do what I can...offering what I have.

Many blessings to you!

Mommy Emily said...

oh kati, this is good. i hope that other imperfect readers took the time to come over here and read this... (with it being thanksgiving, people don't have a lot of time)... the drummer boy is my favorite christmas carol. and i love chariots of fire. and i needed to be reminded of this tonight. ((thank you, friend)) i love that you linked.

nancy nasrallah said...

Thanks, Katie. I've never truly listened to the words before, and I love the little story and the images. The grandchildren (and their parents) left today and we are exhausted. I only lost my temper once, which was too much. But I do feel I played my drum for Him, for the grandchildren, and He smiled at me. Thanks for this thought, in our imperfections and fatigue. And enjoy Lebanon!!!

Unknown said...

I loved this Katie,thanks for sharing it, it brought tears to my eyes and made me proud of you! This was a song our boys loved growing up and they would take turns playing their little fischer Price drum to it, it made ME smile and warms my heart to see them and you finding songs to play for God. He is pleased.

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