I like the music of The Little Drummer Boy, especially the new Pentatonix version, but that little smiling percussionist makes me uneasy.
I can remember watching the movie as a child and worrying because Mary sure seemed to like that drum song… and I don’t play.
I remember going into my room after the show and thinking: What would Jesus want from me? My favorite corduroy jumper? My leather-strap necklace with a fake, half-bitten Oreo cookie? My precious Raggedy Ann?
Nothing seemed right. Even then, I knew I had nothing to offer.
But I still so desperately wanted to go to go see Jesus because I loved Him so much… even as a child. However, the movie made it clear that I needed to bring something special – or be someone special. But again, no special gifts. No drumming skill. Nothing good enough.
…and the beat of my heart started playing a hopeless tune.
I remember watching the boy drummer and thinking about how great it would feel to have the gift that steals the show. I would play that mesmerizing rum-pa-pum-pum beat, Mary would nod, the ox and lamb would keep time, and baby Jesus would turn His head and smile at me. The stable would echo my drum’s last beat, and I would rest in the fact that my gift pleased Mary, soothed the beasts, and caught God’s eye.
Then Christmas would be all about me. How sad.
But when I look at myself honestly; when I remember who I am, it’s clear that no matter what song I would play with my hands, it would be sour with sin and out-of-tune from pride.I get that I’m supposed to bring an offering, but nothing I have seems right or pure.
So, once again, I’m stuck in my room; stuck in the dilemma that imprisons every human heart. But from under my bedroom door floats another Christmas song:
Oh, come let us adore Him,
Oh, come let us adore Him,
Oh, come let us adore Him,Christ the Lord!
Can I go just to adore? I get the feeling that just the looking alone will make a difference.
This reminds me of the Israelites in the desert when they were dying from poisonous snake bites and God told Moses to place one of the deadly serpents on a pole and hold it in the air for all to see. He told His people to look upon it, and everyone who saw it would live. Numbers 21:4-9
They looked, and God saved them. They saw their imminent death on a pole and lived. They looked up – trusting in what they saw there – even if their instinct was to turn away.
Maybe we were all meant to be saved by looking; by really seeing the death on a pole that allows us to live.
All year long, it’s good for us to stay long and look closely, so that we don’t miss the stable rude, the filthy hay, the tiny manger lying in the shadow of a cross, and the radical love behind all of it all.
Of course, I missed it as a child, and I still forget. I still hustle to show him my prized possessions and favorite talents, and I scramble to hide the very reasons He came. I fall into the trap of holding out sweet, shiny gifts to him, hoping for a nod and smile in return.
I forget that it’s not about my gifts. It’s all about adoring The Gift.
And I forget that I’m trapped in the desert and sick with a putrid disease; one that overpowers the sweet aroma of anything else I have.
He said to them “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2: 17
I never found the perfect offering in my childhood room, but it was there the whole time. It was my self-centeredness that wanted the spotlight more than it wanted Jesus. It was my prideful desire to be the star of the claymation scene…
And that’s exactly what Jesus wanted me to bring to Him… then and now.
Jesus came because His children have nothing worthy to offer. He came so they wouldn’t have to spend eternity searching for that one thing that would deem them worthy.
He came to be my offering. So I could trade my sin for Himself.. The only, perfect, worthy Gift that catches the eye of God and steals the show.
How’s your view of Christmas? Are you in a distant place? Locked away and rummaging for something to make yourself worthy? Can you see?
Come, let us adore Him and rest from the beat of our rummaging.
Come, let us adore Him and live.
Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.