I can’t believe it’s that time of year already, Reader; in my mind, it’s barely the beginning of November. But the turkey has been eaten here in the States, the snow has fallen (although we are currently snow-less here in the Land of Pilgrims), and I’ve seen the ringing Hershey’s Kisses commercial. Ergo, it must be Christmas season—or, to those of us more liturgically minded, Advent. With Advent comes a whole soundtrack, and I’m glad to welcome you back to it with me.
Little Drummer Boy has never been one of my favorite Christmas songs, but it’s one of those staples you kind of like in spite of yourself. (Although I would never be this dedicated to the song.) The lyrics are, well, not terribly imaginative, but can be cool when the rhythm of a drum actually makes its way through the song. The thing about simple lyrics, though, is that sometimes they’re quite right to have nothing fancier overlaying them.
Come, they told me—for sure, I have been told that it is Advent, that I am to wait but also that I need to be at my two upcoming concerts and a few services and several work parties and family get-togethers piling on top of each other amidst friends’ invites that really only come at this time of year. And it seems everyone else is bringing their fine gifts of the best bargain shopping and the knowledge of what people actually want—a talent I’ve never seemed able to master, as I don’t know the first thing about shopping for someone unless they give it to me in an itemized list.
So we come to honor Him (pa rum, pa pum, pum). Yeah…I’m not doing so well on that this year. I am poor this year, but grateful that for the first time in a while it’s not financially based. I’m actually well situated as someone with no dependents or mortgages or anything other than medical bills and student loans. I don’t worry about money like I used to, and that is fantastic. But I am not wealthy. I bring a poverty of spirit to this King just born, an apathy born of exhaustion in this season of ever-merry more. I bring all sorts of talents I’m not using on instruments aplenty, including my bodhran drum, two guitars, a harp, several recorders, a pan pipe, and a nose flute. I bring this so-much that I have and I bury it under the nothing that is in my heart. I am not playing my best for Him. Some days I’m not even sure I’m playing at all.
The thing about this song is that it pushes us to use what we have instead of wishing we could offer something else. God doesn’t want our incredibly well-thought-out gifts from the doorbuster sale at Macy’s, He wants us. He wants us to see the talents He’s given us, the incredible amount of sheer being that we have. He wants us to offer that back in recognition of what an amazing gift that is, of what we have been asked to steward within ourselves for Him.
I ask for your prayers, Reader, that I can come to a place in this season of waiting where I can do that. I ask for your prayers that I recognize that my spirit is not poor because it draws from the unquenchable well of the Spirit, the King Who smiles and tells me that even if all I have is the trust of sharing my lack of riches with Him, that is enough because it is freely given. You are also in my prayers, Reader, that you may have the courage to give what you have, even if it is only the thump of your drum, in recognition of the coming of this King.
Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:7-8, HCSB)