As I begin my new book project, I struggle with that voice that says, “You’re not good enough.” While I can’t quiet the voice, I can remind myself that this book is my offering to God. I’ve been thinking of the Little Drummer Boy.
My mother was one to listen to Christmas songs year-round, or at least starting in August. She would break out the Mannheim Steamroller vinyl and turn the stereo up to at least 7.
She loved the classics as well as electronic music. One of her favorite songs was the Little Drummer Boy. This song tells the story of a young boy with nothing to give the baby Jesus. With Mary’s blessing, he plays his drum.
Without fail, my mother cried every time it came on.
I seem to have inherited her Little Drummer Boy crying syndrome. Now when I hear the song, I remember her feeling so touched. It brings tears to my own eyes.
The simplicity of the story means each generation can learn from the little drummer boy.
The little boy didn’t say, “Wait, I need to take some drum lessons and get better before I offer my song. I will come back in a few years.”
As I was talking to my husband about the song, he said he imagines the little drummer boy played the drum the way young children play drums, in a clumsy, charming way. The song doesn’t say, “Then the very best child drummer—a kid so good that had he been on YouTube 2,014 years in the future, he would have had 1 million views—played for Jesus.” It only says that he played.
As adults, we get caught up in looking like we know what we’re doing. How we look seems to matter more than what we feel and experience. How many new things do we avoid because of fear and the idea of “I don’t want to look stupid”?
Children are beginners at everything, even self-consciousness. They haven’t learned to be self-conscious.
What if we approached something new with an attitude of openness without worrying about how we look?
Remember it’s OK to look like a beginner. It means you are beginning something new!
The boy was motivated by his love for the Lord in this song. He could have gotten caught up in self-pity that he had no frankincense.
Whether you are offering a prayer, a smile, a glass of water or a devotional—do it with spirit and goodwill. Let your love for the Lord motivate you. Whatever you have to give, if you give it with love, it will be enough.
The boy wasn’t half-drumming, distracted by the score of a game. He focused on what he was giving.
How often are you present? All the time? Most of the time? Or like me, sometimes, here and there, when I am not distracted by ponies and to-do lists?
Think of a Japanese tea ceremony with its deliberate patience. Instead of tossing your offering in an off-hand way, present it with intention.
Center yourself and give part of yourself. The recipient of your generosity will feel your presence. You will gain more from the giving.
Lord, let us give what we can now:
Smiles to the lonely,
Peace to the troubled,
Food to the hungry,
A hand to the stumbling,
An ear to those not heard.
If we don’t have big tithes
or fancy prayers,
time for overseas missions
or prayerful retreats,
let us give what we can now:
A kind word,
A thank you.
Let us be the people who turn around
Guide us to become people who give
as you give:
How have you been blessed this week? What will you give out of love for God? What would you like to learn?