For a few days just before and after this supreme holiday, I’m offering a short mini-series (is there any other kind?) to feature some relatively unlikely Xmas¹ songs that ought to be more present in our meditations — whether in December or April or August. There will be no “Silent Night,” no “First Noel” or “Hark,” and definitely no “Rudolph” here. Those already get enough airtime.
For the first song, I’ll give credit to my brother-in-law Neil, whose favorite it is. Although this song is well known, its merits don’t seem often to be seriously entertained. Frankly, I hadn’t seen much in the song before I heard it was his favorite, but the more I think about it, the more simply, sincerely profound it seems. [For reasons that are to me obvious, I’ll leave out all but the first two “pa rum pum pum pums.”]
Come, they told me — pa rum pum pum pum.
A new born King to see — pa rum pum pum pum.
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.
“The Little Drummer Boy”
© 1941, 1957, 1958 Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati, Harry Simeone, EMI Music Publishing.
The childlike desire to give and to please is a beautiful thing. Even more beautiful is one’s desire to offer what we have to the Lord — as the drummer boy offers. Yet more impressive, if not more beautiful, is this same desire, when it is manifest in a mature, even callous heart. When it is the blemished heart of a wounded adult that seeks to honor Him, sacrificial worship may be in view.
The most beautiful of all is the thought that the Lord Himself — not as a baby, for Jesus was not yet Lord in the manger — smiles when we attempt to worship.
¹ All ya’all Christians who think “Xmas” spelling is taking Christ out of Christmas, think again. I’m a Christian who realizes that’s not necessarily the case– although I have no particular concerns with making Christmas a Christian thing.