I know the Little Drummer Boy doesn’t qualify as a Christmas hymn but I am including it in my series here. Based on the fact that several versions of this song appear in my YouTube Christmas Playlist, I am going to say this song is absolutely one of my favorites. I have included a couple of versions of the song in these links. It’s the tune, the percussion, the words, the meanings behind it all that make it so special to me.
I have included the lyrics as written by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone in 1958. I am writing this from the perspective of the Little Drummer Boy. Maybe I am grown now, and looking back at my visit to the stable that first Christmas.
Come they told me. This wasn’t a question, but a statement. I was a kid, I didn’t get to make those decisions. I didn’t even have any input. I would get that privilege later in life. As it should be. A new-born King to see? OK, sounds good to me. We get to bring our best gifts and honor Him by giving them to Him? Wow! This is special. I am excited about this visit. May I bring my favorite possession for the King? My drum. Maybe I can play for Him.Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum A new-born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum, When we come.
We showed up at this little stable tucked away from everything else that seemed to matter. The space was cozy, some how quaint, it was a stable but somehow I felt right at home. The little Baby was lying in a manger, but for some reason it was fitting. Then I thought, well, I am just a poor boy here in front of this King. What do I have that’s fit for a King? Nothing really, nothing fit for a King. I did have my favorite thing in all the world, I had my drum. If my drum was so special to me then just maybe it would be special to this new-born King as well. Mom; Dad? Do you mind if I ask the Baby’s mother if it’s OK for me to play my drum for the King? Thank you. Ma’am I have no gift worthy of a King. May I play my drum for you?Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum, On my drum?
The Baby’s mother nodded to me, giving me the OK to play for Him. There were animals around as we were in a stable and the Baby was in one of the animals’ manger. I started to play my drum. It sounded and felt right. The ox and lamb watched and kept time. I played and played. I know that I played my best. This was my gift to the King. The only gift I had to offer that was fit for this King, was my best effort, doing my favorite thing, playing my drum. Then He smiled at me. He smiled at me and my drum. His smile was a gift to me. I smiled and felt as though I had given a proper gift to the King.Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum Me and my drum.
As it turns out this King was different and somehow I knew that as I played for him. His mother didn’t need to let me play for Him. After all we weren’t rich or prestigious we were just a poor family that was led to the King. This Baby’s mother knew that there was something special about her Baby, and she let us in. She let me play my drum for Him. She knew, He knew, that my best, heart-felt effort, was worthy of the King. If all I had to give was my all, then that’s a gift worthy of this King. It still is. That’s all He asks. I mean we give our all to far less important things all the time. We were created in His image so why shouldn’t we give Him our all. I gave my all back when I was just the Little Drummer Boy.