No Gift to Bring? Just Play your Best for Him

"The Little Drummer Boy" is a Christmas classic featuring one poor boy's act of simple worship that pleased the heart of Jesus.

10 months ago   •   2 min read

By Jordan Hopkins

Date: Dec 22, 2020

Though you won't find the little drummer boy in the Bible, his story is captivating. It begins with the three wise men (I assume) calling the boy to join them.

Here's the beginning with all the "pa-rum pum pum pums" left out....

Come, they told me
Our newborn King to see
Our finest gifts we bring
To lay before the King
So to honor Him
When we come

So, the boy's been invited by these wealthy wise men with their "finest gifts." But then the story jumps to the nativity scene.

It's the drummer boy's turn to present his offering to the newborn King. And it's his humble words here that have always stuck with me....

Little Baby
I am a poor boy too
I have no gift to bring
That's fit to give our King
Shall I play for you,
on my drum?

The little drummer boy acknowledges both his poverty and Jesus's lowly estate. The boy has "no gift to bring" to honor such a glorious King.

But, the boy can offer his lone skill: "Shall I play for you...on my drum?"

The story ends with this beautiful scene...

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

The narrative ends with the baby King's smile for the drummer boy. I imagine the boy playing a simple rhythm—maybe even a clumsy one. Its noise filling the manger as a musical heartbeat for the King.

He played his best for Jesus. It was no symphony with golden trumpets nor organized concert with lighting...it was just the drummer boy and his best song.

That pleased Jesus.

The King's smile at the boy's simple act of worship communicates the heart of the Gospel:

  • You have no gift to bring that's fit for this King.
  • All you can do is play your drum, the rhythm of your life in response to His love.
  • And by recognizing your poverty, your ego won't get in the way, for "faith like a child" pleases the King.

We tend to add layers to what it means to be a Christian, but "Little Drummer Boy" captures the heart of Christ and joyful service...

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Matthew 18:1-5 (NIV)

As you bustle about with food and gifts, reflect on the goodness of the newborn King, the poverty He took on to save you, and how you can play your best for Him.

No symphony or fog machines required. ?

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I have two favorite versions of "Little Drummer Boy:" an old chorale version and this one by Pentatonix. Enjoy!

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