A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I like the song “The Little Drummer Boy.”

No, really. It brings tears to my eyes.

Every so often this time of year I read snarky comments about it: “Yeah, I bet Mary was pleased as punch to have some punk kid come start banging a drum right when Baby Jesus had finally fallen asleep.” And yeah, I admit, it’s a bit of a stretch. But then the singer gets to this part:

I played my drum for him, pa-rump-a-pum-pum
I played my best for him, pa-rump-a-pum-pum
Then he smiled at me, pa-rump-a-pum-pum
Me and my drum.

And then I start to weep. I feel stupid, but I do it anyway.

Because that’s what Jesus wants from us: to play our best for him. What I have to offer might seem insufficient, or trivial, or foolish. But that’s what I’ve got, and that’s what he wants from me: that, and no less.

Of course, it has to be done right: the singer has to sing it like he means it…which is why my favorite version of the song is Ringo Starr’s. I don’t know whether there was any religious feeling there when he recorded it; but by golly he plays his drum, and he plays his best, and whether he meant to or not he’s offering his playing as a gift to Our Saviour. God bless him.

  • By Calah, December 9, 2012 @ 11:51 am

    I love that song too! For my money, I prefer the Shane McGowan collaboration with the Priests, because it’s like the song’s meaning encompassed in a person, at the end of his rope and giving the only thing he has to give. His weird and awesome singing voice.

  • By Melanie B, December 9, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    The Little Drummer Boy is my three year old son’s favorite song too. Last year we got him a little board book version of it. Gorgeous, actually, with collage illustrations by Ezra Jack Keats. I read the book, i.e. sing the song, to him several times a day. And, yes, get weepy at that last stanza every single time.

  • By Will Duquette, December 9, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    Shane McGowan, really. I’m going to have to look for that. It can go next to Fairytale of New York.

  • By Lars Walker, December 10, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    I shall graciously refrain from explaining how egregiously mistaken you are.

  • By Will Duquette, December 10, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Yeah, I know…but it gets me anyway.

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