That being said, I really used to hate this song. It’s weird. What the heck does “pa rum pum pum pum” even mean? And as far as the Bible tells us, there was no little drummer boy. He didn’t exist. He’s not seen in any nativity scenes, he didn’t come with the wise men, the angels didn’t announce Jesus’ birth to him from the sky.
And even if he did, even if the events described in the song DID happen – I just want you to picture it. A newborn baby, possibly sleeping in his mother’s arms, surrounded by farm animals. In comes this little boy with a drum who asks if he can play for the baby, as his mom reluctantly nods. So then we have a little boy banging away on his drum with ox stomping their feet, lambs baa-ing in time with the sounds of the drum. It’s a little ridiculous to picture, but apparently the baby Jesus liked it and smiled – frankly I’m pretty sure he was just laughing at how crazy the whole situation was.
And then the more I heard it (the more I found versions of this song that I actually liked), the more I began to think, “what’s really the point?” To get to that, it actually took a different Christmas song to get me there – “In the Bleak Midwinter”, specifically the last verse.
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.
We’ve got nothing. Here’s this great gift, the best gift, the greatest present anyone ever opened – God with us, here to save us, and we can barely even utter a “thank you” to make up for it. We’ve got nothing. Even the greatest of things we can give is worthless. So we give what we have. We give our hearts. We do whatever we can, anything we can to show the gratitude in our hearts for what God has done for us.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Literally anything in life we could possibly do, we can do for God’s glory. Eating, drinking, doing laundry, going to work at the job you might not like, we can sing, we can dance – we can play our drums for the glory of God.
Our little drummer boy tells us that “he played his best” for Christ. To all you little drummer boys and girls, play on. Play your best for Christ, give your hearts, show the love, the gratitude you have for the newborn king in whatever ways you can – and know that Jesus smiles.