We led the preschool children upstairs to the church’s sanctuary to hear the Christmas story. The pastor shared the story and significance of each figurine in the large wooden Nativity.
Suddenly, a little boy’s voice resounded across the luminescent stained-glass room.
“Where’s the Little Drummer Boy?”
The pastor tenderly told the children that the Little Drummer Boy was make-believe and not part of the true Christmas story. Upon hearing the unsettling news, the little boy’s face became sad and confused, so I hurried to his side to console him.
Whispering into his ear, I asked him to tell me what he knew about the Little Drummer Boy. He repeated the lyrics from the song, saying, “He had no gift to bring Jesus, so he played his drum for him.” I told him that it was one of my favorites, too. We sang it together when we returned to our classroom.
The Old Testament teaches of David, a talented shepherd boy, forefather of Christ, and king of Israel:
“And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And David danced before the Lord with all his might ” (2 Samuel 6:5, 14).
I like to imagine that David’s musical praise was passed down through the ages to perhaps another shepherd boy. At least it’s fun to consider that he could have played a drum and rejoiced upon the Judean hills of Bethlehem that very first Christmas.
From the scriptures we read: “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them” (Luke 2:12).
A ceramic Little Drummer Boy now stands alongside the shepherds and wise men in my own manger scene. I recall my sweet student’s question along with this classic Christmas song and evaluate my life asking: “Have I played my best for Jesus this year? Have I developed my talents and spiritual gifts?”
Answering these questions with an honest heart helps to cleanse my soul and spiritually prepare for the holiday season. I believe that worshiping our Savior at Christmas can best be expressed by sharing our talents and spiritual gifts as did the Little Drummer Boy.
Sheran K. Milius lives in Littleton, Colo.