Today is a quiet day. How ironic! The days of Advent, being days of preparation, are typically busier than normal days, having all those extra tasks added on top of everyday routines and responsibilities. Maybe that is the gift of my toe injury plus my illness (I have bronchitis) – I cannot participate in the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle. Which also means, I am behind on my Christmas shopping. Yes, I am confessing – I do not yet have gifts fully prepared and ready to give.
I have been writing in these past few days about preparing my home for Christmas, about preparing my heart to fully receive the gift of Christmas, Jesus, God’s Son; but something else that I typically prepare are gifts to give to those I love. Gift giving is synonymous with Christmas, probably because Christmas started with a gift – God’s gift to the world – Jesus. Then the Wise Men showed up with gifts of their own for the newborn Jesus, expensive gifts to show Him honor and respect.
In the quiet of this Advent morning, a favorite childhood Christmas song plays clearly in my mind. We sang this song in children’s choir for the church Christmas program when I was maybe first grade? I identified so strongly, so closely with the speaker in the song, that I carry its impact with me yet today. The song “The Little Drummer Boy” tells a story I identified with then, that I identify with still today. Maybe it was because I was a small child at the time I first sang this song, that I felt so close to the small child whose story the song tells.
He tells his own story, this little drummer boy, starting with the invitation he receives to go with the Wise Men to worship baby Jesus. “Come they told me . . . A newborn King to see . . . Our finest gifts we bring . . . To lay before the King . . . So to honor Him . . . When we come.” So there he was, this young boy, having accepted the invitation from the Magi, he now found himself in a tough place. The Magi were presenting their rare and expensive gifts to Jesus’s parents and the little drummer boy had no such gift to give. His story continues –
“Little baby . . . I am a poor boy too . . . I have no gift to bring . . . That’s fit to give our King.” With those words I knew the truth. Neither did I. I had nothing of value to offer the Baby in the manger, the King of all Creation, the Savior of the world. I shared in the little drummer boy’s plight, I shared in his poverty. I, too, found myself standing before the Lord of Lords with nothing to give. For me, that is as true today as it was all those years ago. I still come before my King, poor, empty handed and all too aware of my lack. But I learned a lesson from the drummer boy as his story continued when he asked,
“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.”
A happy ending! The little drummer boy offered Jesus what he did have to give. He offered back the very gifts God had already given him – his drum and his ability to play it for God’s glory. He played his drum as an offering to God and God was pleased. God accepted his gift! The song says the Christ child smiled!
What great reward! That’s all I could ever desire – that my offering, my gift, would be accepted by my King.
to that end my prayer today is simply this,
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
What joy that my gift might be found acceptable like the drum beats of that long ago little drummer boy, who found favor in the sight of God.
Although this Advent season falls during this time of COVID, COVID does not rule. The Ruler of the universe, the God whose Advent we are preparing to celebrate reigns supreme. Lord, grant that I walk through these Advent days, every step surrendered, every thought captured (the ladies in my bible study will get that one, we are learning about taking every thought captive and we are finding out how hard that actually is!) heart humbled, hands open . . . that I will sing Your praises with the angels, make haste to obey with the shepherds that I might behold Your precious Gift personally, journey with the Wise Men though it take me far from home, in order to find and worship You, and may I offer up whatever gifts You have graciously placed within my hands, may I give them back to You, just as the little drummer boy did.
The King has come! The King is coming! Prepare the way! Advent is upon us!
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)
sincerely, Grace Day