The Little Drummer Boy

Katherine Kennicott Davis is credited for writing this popular Christmas carol in 1941. She had a long history of musical talent, private education in her youth and then college. She had a long musical career with over 600 compositions to her credit. Truthfully, until I decided to write this piece, I had never heard of this talented woman.
The Little Drummer Boy is my favorite Christmas song and has been since I was a child. I did not understand why I liked it as a child or how it had the power to touch my heart each time I heard it. Likewise, I did not know how to articulate why this song was so very meaningful to me but now I can. I absolutely love this song because it speaks directly to my soul.
For those of you not familiar with the tune, it tells the story of a young boy who wanted to give something to the newborn Christ child but he knew that he owned nothing that would be worthy of the child. All he possessed was a crude drum and his talent to bring music into the world. Mary encouraged the child to play his song as a gift to the child. The young boy was rewarded by a smile from the Christ child letting him know that his gift was pleasing to the Lord. It was such a humble gift but it was all the child had to give but it was the perfect gift.
Growing up, my sisters and I were always taught that joy was born of giving instead of receiving. If you have ever given a gift to another and was rewarded by a smile or even a tear then you know the true value of giving to another. We were poor and we needed much but Christmas was always a time where we found great excitement and joy from making or baking things to give to family, friends, and neighbors. We even bought a store Santa Clause a package of cotton hankies one year because we felt bad that kids always asked him for gifts but no one ever gave him a gift. I do not know how my mother scraped the money up to buy this last minute gift but I still remember the surprised look on “Santa’s” face. The store was closing and when he saw us running up to him he had a very weary expression but smiled nonetheless. We were all smiles as we handed him the hastily purchased and wrapped package. He was in shock as he just stared at it for a moment then opened it. I remember he did not say much at all. I think it was a weakly uttered, “thank you” to each of us. I remember he and my mother looked at one another then the loud speaker announced the store was closing so our mother ushered us out as we waved good-bye to the tired Santa. I often wonder what that man thought about those three little girls who had given him a gift instead of asking for a long list of their own. I’d like to think that it touched his heart and gave him pause as to the true meaning of Christmas and not the normal hectic atmosphere surrounding the holiday.
Even today, I love giving others gifts just because I want to make someone happy. I am actually uncomfortable getting gifts and would much rather give than receive. When I listen to the song, The little drummer boy, it reminds me that we come before the Lord devoid of worth except for that which he has given us. You see, the perfect gift for the Christ child was the gift the Lord had already given to the drummer boy. God wove the ability to play the drum into the child as he was creating him. It was through the maturation of this God given talent that the child was able to offer a piece of himself to the Christ child. There is nothing we have or that we can buy that would be worthy of the Christ child but each of us has been given a talent or gift and through the recognition, maturation, and use of this gift we offer praise to the one who wove it into our being. Regardless of our societal or economic standing, the only gift our Lord wants from us is the one he first gave us. I try to honor God with my writings and I pray that they are pleasing to one who gave them to me.
This is the reason that this song means so much to me because all we need do to praise our Lord is to offer everything we are to him. We show him our love through whatever gift or talent he has woven into our very being. The drummer boy gave him music and I offer my words. What do you have to give to our Savior?
The following is an excerpt from one of my favorite childhood Christmas specials, The Little Drummer Boy.

The Little Drummer Boy Lyrics

“The Little Drummer Boy” was written by Onorati, Henry / Simeone, Harry / Davis, Katherine K.
Come, they told me, pa rum pa pum pum
A newborn king to see, pa rum pa pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pa pum pum
To lay before the king, pa rum pa pum pum
Rum a pum pum, rum pa pum pum
So to honor him, pa rum pa pum pum
When we come
Little baby, pa rum pa pum pum
I am a poor boy, too, pa rum pa pum pum
I have no gifts to bring, pa rum pa pum pum
That’s fit to give a king, pa rum pa pum pum
Rum pa pum pum, rum pa pum pum
Shall I play for you, pa rum pa pum pum
On my drum
Mary nodded, pa rum pa pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pa pum pum
I played my drum for him, pa rum pa pum pum
I played my best for him, pa rum pa pum pum
Rum pa pum pum, rum pa pum pum
Then he smiled at me, pa rum pa pum pum
Me and my drum

A Christmas Wish

Although we do not all celebrate Christmas and fewer still understand the meaning behind all the glitz and commercialism, the feeling and spirit embedded within the holiday is what all of us are capable of feeling. Holiday traditions, celebrations with family and friends, and those special moments that create memories whose purpose is to carry us through the hard times ahead are the things that stay with us forever.
However, I am a follower of Christ; therefore, I will be speaking of my beliefs, traditions, and memories that make this time of year an extraordinary time for my loved ones and me. To me, Christmas is all about the celebration of the Savior’s birth who came to save all sinners. Everything else is human bling and commercialism. Nevertheless, family traditions and community celebrations have the potential to provide and spread the original gift Christ gave to all of us who are willing to accept it, love, mercy, forgiveness, sacrifice. The spirit of Christmas lives within us every day but we usually suppress its urgings out of fear of judgment or rejection. That little nagging voice we have that urges us to check in on a neighbor, send a card to someone, visit a person who we know is lonely, or to just shovel the snow from a neighbor’s walk. If we allow ourselves to be led by the spirit then love, joy and peace will be the result. Some cannot hear that little urging at all because they are too consumed with selfish desires or their lives have become so hectic they have become deaf to it altogether. These folks look at that world and blame it for its commercially centered focus. A resounding declaration shouting that they are not going to buy into any of it. In fact, they refuse to get sucked into the melee surrounding Christmas. Of course, this is a major cop-out deflecting the fact they have hardened their own hearts to the point that they cannot see beyond the layers of glitz.
These folks contribute to the very problem they condemn. Instead of adding to the negativity, get out and make a difference, get out there and be an example of the true meaning of Christmas. Disdain and criticism for what we humans have made of our holidays is ludicrous because we have created the situation; hence, we have the power to change it. Peel off the layers of profiteering, economic gain, surplus of unwanted or unneeded gifts, and the over indulgence that marks the season. However, the way in which we downsize our holiday makes a huge difference because we should not make others feel poorly about themselves. After all, being a self-righteous objector only brings scorn and disgust toward you. No one likes to have a mirror held up to illustrate his or her faults. Alternatively, protest the commercialism by providing a quiet example of what the season is really all about. Leave a generous tip to a service provider, hand out a few pairs of warm gloves, hats, or coats to homeless individuals, make and deliver some holiday treats to an elderly neighbor or someone who is all alone. Invite someone you know who has no one to a nice, quiet dinner that doesn’t not have to be the holiday meal. During Christmas and New Years, both depression and suicide rates are extremely high because people feel alone in all the world. Imagine, in a world of 6 billion people there are thousands who have no one to care about them, no one to believe in them, no one to love them.

You and I have the power to make a difference throughout this holiday season and all the year through so please do not sit there in your easy chair and complain about how bad the world has become. Do not shout your protests about the commercialism of the holidays. Instead, act and do something that proves humanity has not lost its soul. I pray each and every one of you have a deeply profound and blessed holiday season. If you believe in the Christ in Christmas then make certain no one can ever question your ability or willingness to live a life that proves it every single day. Of course, we will fail every now and again as we are only human but it is the pursuit that is important, for when we stop trying then Christmas is meaningless and the celebration of the New Year is pointless.
God bless you all richly throughout this season and may he provide his protection and guidance all the year through.