Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rum Pum Pum Pum

I've never liked "The Little Drummer Boy." It's not that the tune is bad--I find the redundant melody rather soothing. I think a lot of it has to do with the lame attempt at onomatopoeia in the "rum pum pums" and, of course, the following jarringly off-key "ching ching" of a triangle or finger cymbals (I would personally like to punch the face of whoever decided the triangle was acceptable punctuation for symphonies and orchestras).

And then there's the lyrics: the story of the kid who plays a drum for baby Jesus. I remember my mom once skeptically questioned the idea that an infant, even the precocious infant Jesus, could volitionally smile at someone. I always envisioned this little boy with a snare drum strapped to his chest a la marching band. Rat-a-tat-a-tat-tat. Let's face it: drums are just not solo instruments. But even if he was lugging timpanis (the classy member of the drum family, in my opinion) to the stable, the resultant sound would still be a far cry short of a lullaby. What a joke. A drum solo for baby Jesus; honestly.

But then I thought about how little any of us have to offer the Savior; about how my small offerings--three steps forward, two steps back, and held in my tightly clenched fists--are really nothing more than pitiful noise in the vast scheme of things. So maybe my attempt at living a Christlike life is at times grating or useless--rat-a-tat-a-tat-tat--but it is earnest. And, really, it's all I have to offer.

And, thankfully, it is enough.


  1. That is one of the reasons why I love "the little drummer boy."

    A line that I find especially important: I have no gifts to bring/I am a poor boy, too-

    Translates to me: even the poorest and the meekest want to gift to Christ, and can feel his love, too.

    I love the little drummer boy.

  2. haha. I have to laugh, because for years I cringed every time the little drummer boy played on the radio. . . then I had the same sort of epiphany, and now I sob hysterically every time I hear it. . . oh, the joys of womanhood.

  3. Maybe “scoffed” is a bit harsh…. I hope I didn’t really come off that way. Still, I loved your thoughts on this. We all have little to offer—that is why we need a Savior. At this season of the year, and always, I am grateful for this most wondrous and merciful gift.

  4. In reading these comments I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I've always thought that beating a drum to an infant would not be good. It will probably wake him up and make him a bit grouchy. That was my thought. I think playing the flute might be a little more spiritual too! Just my two cents worth.