Little Drummer Boy
This morning we are going to continue our series Preaching the Carols with a song that I don;t really classify as a carol, at least not one that I have ever sung in church
This morning I want to look at the song Little Drummer Boy and because it is one of those that we don’t all know by heart I want to begin by reading for you the lyrics of the song…minus the bar-rum-pum-pum-pums!
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.
Okay now just before we go any farther with this song I want to begin by mentioning that the story that takes place in this song is fictional, it didn’t really happen
We know this because a) it’s not recorded anywhere in the Bible
But that in of of itself does not make it fiction, lots of things happened that are not recorded in the Bible
It doesn’t say that Mary fed the baby or changed His diaper but we can be pretty sure that she did both of those
The real clue that it is fictional is because of the lyrics, never in the history of the world has any mother of a newborn baby who was quietly lying in their crib, ever given permission to ANYONE to play the drums anywhere near the baby!
But just because it is a fictional story doesn’t mean that there isn’t lessons we can pull out of it, Jesus used fictional stories all the time to make His point, we call them parables
So what can we learn from the parable of the little drummer boy?
Well the first thing that we learn is that Christmas isn’t for just a select few but that it is for everyone
The most famous verse in the book says, “For God so loved the WORLD”
As we have seen over the past couple of weeks the first ones to receive the message about the birth of the Christ-child were the shepherds who were tending flocks in the nearby hills
And although I’m certain that you have heard this before I feel compelled to remind you that shepherds were not very high on the social ladder in that day
In fact I have tried to come up with a modern day example to compare them to and I can’t find one because there is no one in our society that is so despised and outcast as the shepherds were
And yet they were the first ones to get the good news
Probably about the same time, some wise astronomers from a far away land figured it out as well and began their journey to come and pay homage to this new king but they wouldn’t arrive for almost 2 years
Rich or poor, young or old, good or bad, religious or not, Jewish or Gentile, the birth of the Messiah was not limited to any one particular group but instead was for everyone, even a poor little drummer boy
The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, recalls the type of person that he once was before encountering the Christ and he said,
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
And to Titus he wrote,
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
The voice of the Spirit still draws all people to that once young child to experience the grace and forgiveness that can only be found through Him for as Peter reminds us, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
And once we have come and met the Christ and received this free gift that God has given to us, we too will be inspired to give back
In the first verse everyone is calling to this young boy to join them as they head off to see this new born baby that was prophesied by scripture
They also point out that they are not going empty handed but that they are bringing their very best gifts, the kind of things that might be considered worthy of a royal baby
But our little drummer boy doesn’t have anything that could even be remotely considered worthy of such an auspicious occasion
The only thing he has is an ability to play on his worn old drum
The famous reformer Martin Luther once said, “God created the world out of nothing, and so as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.”
What have you got this morning to bring to this King?
Would you have to echo what the little drummer boy said? “Little Baby, I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring, That's fit to give the King”
Well allow me to set your mind at ease because He is not looking for those things that the world might consider as gifts worthy of a king
Instead He is looking for something that you do have to offer
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
The greatest gift that we could ever give to Him is to take the gifts and abilities that He has created us with and use them in His service to bring about His glory
What does that look like? Well this is how Peter puts it
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
All that the little boy could offer was to play out a beat on a drum
Now I have to admit to you that I like a good drum solo in the middle of a song, and I really like to see and hear a well put together drum line with all of them moving and working and playing in sync with one another
I’m even fascinated by show acts like Blue Man Group or Stomp who can do incredible things by drumming on things that aren’t even really drums
And if you’ve never seen it there is an amazing youtube video by World Outreach Church which features a an incredible drummed version of How Great Thou Art
But the idea of a child with nothing more than just a single child’s drum trying to play out a single beat…that has migraine written all over it
But not to God, to God it is the sweetest sound you could ever imagine
Little Baby, I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring, That's fit to give the King,
Martin Luther, that great reformer of the church once said, “God created the world out of nothing, and so as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.”
All He wants from us is to humbly bring to Him the gifts that we have and use them in His service by serving others
When we do it puts a smile on His face
Can you bake cookies and take them to someone who is alone? It puts a smile on His face!
Can you shovel someone else’s driveway? It puts a smile on His face!
Can you spend a little bit of time listening to someone who is hurting or lonely? It puts a smile on His face!
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
In our parable, the little drummer boy has nothing to offer but his ability to play his drum and so he plays his very best and it was exactly what this newborn king wanted
You might think that you have nothing to offer Him but I think that if you will just take a closer look you will see that you have exactly the ability, the gift that He is looking for and He wants you to use it for His glory
And how do you do that? The answer is simpler than you might think
1 Corinthians 14:12
So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4-
If there is one more thing that we can pick out of this “parable” it is the theme of humility that is found throughout all of it
The humble conditions in which the Prince of Glory came into this world, the humble family to which He was born, the humility of the drummer boy to offer all that he had for the sake of the King
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Although the song about the little drummer boy doesn’t get as much attention at Christmas time as say the 3 wisemen or the shepherds, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some valuable lessons for us in its simple lyrics
It reminds that Christ came for all, that regardless of what we may believe, each of us has something, some gift to offer the King that will put a smile on His face and that, like Him, we should offer the gifts we bring in humility that that glory may belong to Him