Why I Want To Be Like That Little Drummer Boy


Drummer boy – fictional but true.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is The Little Drummer Boy.  I used to think this song was for children rather than for adults  because it’s about a young boy. Yet I’ve come to realize that this song is as much for me as it is for kids.
It’s message is true – and biblical.
Granted, the song is about a fictional character.  The idea that a small boy showed up in the stable (or even in a house in Bethlehem) to play a drum for the Baby is unlikely. Nor is it really that common for animals to “keep time” to music. We should also recognize that if a donkey can talk, then an animal could keep time to music. And, when there’s a miracle occurring, anything can happen.

The heart

So, while many songs talk about the specifics of the Christmas story, this one doesn’t deal with the actual events. It does, however, deal with an issue of the heart.
It’s the story of a young boy who wanted to join others in a visit to the Baby, but he had nothing to bring. He recognized the Child as the King, and he wanted to present a gift to show Him his love.
That little boy could have stayed behind. He could have refused to visit because he didn’t have anything to bring, yet he came.
I like to think he came because he realized that, even though he had nothing to bring, he would be bringing the ultimate gift when he gave what he had for the infant Jesus.
drummer boy w ith lamb
Was the young boy a shepherd child asked to come with the other shepherds when they journeyed to the stable to see the young Baby? Or could he have been a lad who traveled with the Magi, bringing gifts?
Whoever “they” are, he was asked to participate in bringing “our finest gifts.”
He comes, but he doesn’t have a gift. At least, he doesn’t have what most folks would consider a gift. So he explains that he, also, is a poor boy. He has no gift that he can bring fit for a King.
 Oh, but he does have a gift, and he decides to share it with the Child.

The song

When he arrives at the feet of the Child, he simply asks, “Can I play for You –  on my drum?”
The nod of the Baby King’s mother is enough to give him permission to play. He does what he, apparently, can do well.
He plays his drum. The way he plays his drum is the best he can do for the King!
The song has a message for all of us: when you think you don’t have enough money or enough time or enough talent, you still go.
You still give.

The gift

Even when you think you have nothing to give, you find something that you can do, and you find a way to give what you do have.
Everybody has a gift, a talent, ability, or a place. No one should compare what he has with what others bring. We simply need to bring what we have – what we can bring.
When there is a need or emptiness somewhere, find that one thing you can do. Then give from the person you are.
drummer boy hands daisies
Give what you have instead of hoarding it for yourself or your family.
That’s what the little drummer boy did. He had a drum and he knew how to play that drum. It might not have been with finesse, and it might  not have been professional.

He could play that drum, so he brought the drum and he played a song for the Baby to honor Him.

It wasn’t about the drum, the song, or the drummer; it was about the gift Click To Tweet It was about the Infant King and not about the boy.

Presenting the gift

And, at the end of the drum presentation, when the gift had been unwrapped and presented with total abandonment, the Baby smiled. He smiled at the boy who had brought his drum and played his song.

My heart resonates with this little guy who, like the rest of us, feels he has nothing significant to bring.

We think:  Others have gifts more rare, more precious, more special and more noticeable than any I could bring.

This little guy helps me remember that it doesn’t matter what others are bringing or what others are doing.

The only thing the Baby asks is that I bring what I have. He only asks that I do the best – the very best – I have, for Him.

Then I, too, will feel the warmth of His smile.

drummer boy wise men 2 darker

To hear the Harry Simone Chorale since this wonderful song, click here.

If you’d like to listen to the London Symphony Orchestra play this song, click here.

To listen to Boney M. (FFF club)  sing this song, click here.


The words and music to the Christmas song Little Drummer Boy were composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone in 1958.  Source: http://www.carols.org.uk/little_drummer_boy.htm
 The Little Drummer Boy
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.
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 our 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.

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.


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