This Christmas season there has been a song that has stood out to me and it’s the song, “Little Drummer Boy.” Not a normal top five on the Christmas rotation songs, I realize, but then again, maybe that’s another reason why I love it so much.
In the song, this little boy has the opportunity to perform for baby Jesus. Can you imagine? The pressure! The anxiety of wanting it to be perfect! I remember as a kid having to perform at my annual piano recital. Year after year I would have the same terrifying fear of messing up, forgetting the piece and making an embarrassment of myself in front of my family and the other American strangers sitting in the audience. Reality would sink in all too quickly as I would fumble through my piece, sometimes not even finishing the entire song before I sheepishly walked off the stage to face my disappointed parents.
So, if you can gather from my traumatizing piano story, if given the chance to use my talents to entertain baby Jesus, it’s pretty likely that I would choke under pressure or just pass on the opportunity all together in an effort to avoid any chance of disappointing him. Why? Because truth is, I don’t feel like I’m good at anything. I can’t play piano. I can’t sing. And as my failed audition video proves, I can’t play drums.
I bet that’s exactly the sort of thoughts that would have gone through this little boy’s head in this hypothetical story. All the other shepherd kids probably had the most beautiful voices and were harmonizing along to the chorus of angels that had just visited them. But not the little drummer boy. No. He couldn’t sing and he sulked on the side wishing he could give something, anything of meaning to this precious King.
I think this is a common lie that gets whispered to us: You aren’t good enough. You can’t do anything right. You’re not as good as everyone else. We’re told that to be something great we have to do great things like everyone else. But if you think about it, if we’re all great at the same things then it’s not that great after all.
Seems like the little drummer boy understood that although his gift may be a little different, even unconventional, from the rest of his peers, it was a talent to be proud of. I think that’s why we’re called to simply come as we are. We don’t need fancy words or high achievements, we don’t need a Heisman trophy or even a successful job. All He asks is that we bring our best and the best thing we have to offer is ourselves. What’s the God-given talent you possess? Are you a good cook? Do you make people laugh? Are you a good listener? It may not be the traditional gift you hoped for, but whatever it is that you bring, it is enough.
I used to wish that I had a better singing voice; even something remotely audible and pleasing to the ear would have been nice. I also wished I was smarter in school, that I was more athletic and that I had more success and accomplishments in my twenties. But those things wouldn’t have made me more or less of who I am. They are merely add-ons to the perfectly made person I was created to be.
Think back to this hypothetical story of this little boy. His mother probably dressed him up in his finest outfit (I’d like to think he wore a cute little bow tie). He watched as the people with riches brought in shiny gifts, rare and magnificent pieces from a far off land. He watched as his brother played the violin perfectly while his sister sang ever-so beautifully. Now, it was his turn. People were confused, some even scoffed, Drums? Who is this hooligan who wants to cause a ruckus in front of royalty? This is just noise! There’s nothing beautiful about drums!
The little boy sighed. All eyes were on him. His tiny hands started to make a beat. He knew he didn’t have much. No gold. No frankincense. No voice of an angel. But you can bet he was going to play the heck out of these drums!
We can spend our whole lives trying to claim the spotlight and we will be fools trying to do so. I hope this Christmas you realize your worth and all the things you’re so talented at. Ask yourself – what would you bring to your King? If our lives are the stable, our opportunity to give our best performance for baby Jesus, are we doing it, are we giving our best?
If you’re not there yet, don’t worry I haven’t been confident in following my talents either. But that’s the wonderful thing about Jesus – we can start right now, to come as we are, grab our drumsticks and start living the way we were meant to live. This Christmas, ask yourself this: if given the chance to make Jesus – our Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace – smile would you do so with all you’ve got?
So, what’s stopping you? Play on.
Merry Christmas to you all.