“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
There are only two days until Christmas and an old favorite Christmas song has caught my attention this year - the band For King and Country’s rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.” If you haven’t heard it, below is the official music video on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzEX3QMuVPM I’ve always loved this Christmas classic, but this year, it’s striking me more powerfully than in years past. Maybe it’s because this season of COVID Christmas is hard. Many we love are fighting the virus and will be absent from family gatherings that were already planned to be much smaller than normal. Maybe it’s because I love music and amid a brutally difficult year, music is a staple that has not been taken from me. Or maybe it’s because this particular band has a special meaning to my husband and me in recent years. As we packed up and left our life in St. Louis, MO to follow God to Peoria, IL for my current job, their song “Burn the Ships” was an anthem for us. If you watch closely, there is a scene in the video with a ship burning in the distance as the little drummer boy plays past it. I was immediately brought to tears when I caught a glimpse of it. I’ve heard this new rendition of the song several times in recent weeks on the radio and each time the same words jump out at me… “Our finest gifts we bring… Pa rum pum pum pum” “I play my best for him… Pa rum pum pum pum” Each time the thought popped into my head, “Am I bringing my finest gifts to the Lord this year? Am I playing my best for him?” This wasn’t a self-deprecating thought; it was more introspection and wonder as I ponder the truth of this season. Jesus left the glory of heaven, to come here to earth, taking on human flesh. He humbled himself, leaving his care in the hands of a teenage girl, so that he could identify with everything we as humans experience. Christ-followers remember his sacrifice more readily at Easter, but when I think of his sacrifice to come as a helpless baby, I am keenly aware that Jesus indeed brought his best for me. So again, I wonder, am I doing the same for him? Sitting with this question, I am aware that my first answer is based on feelings and I respond, “No. No, I don’t feel I’m bringing my best and finest gifts to him.” The thought is initially heart-wrenching because that’s not who I want to be as a Christ-follower and honestly it sends me to a very sad place. I have prayed many times in recent weeks about this and today, in his own mysterious fashion, the Lord spoke back (kinda) through the “Little Drummer Boy” video. While I’ve heard the song many times the past few days, I hadn’t actually seen this new video. This morning I felt a strange nudge to watch it and I am so glad I did. I love it when God speaks through the seemingly ordinary! The first thing that jumped out was the scene with the ship burning in the distance. It was like a wave from God to me, signaling, “Steph, pay attention. I’m in this and I have something to tell you.” The second thing that jumped out to me were two different phrases than before… “Then he smiled at me… Pa rum pum pum pum” “I play my drum for him… Pa rum pum pum pum” To someone else, this may seem trivial. However, this morning my King reminded me of a truth that has been lost in recent months. I am to play, MY DRUM for him, and when I do that with all my might, HE SMILES. In this world, it is so easy to get lost in the perception of others and what they think of our gifts and us. Today, I hear my Lord whispering in the depths of my soul, “Stop it. Play for me. Play for me with all your heart, because I am watching, listening, and pleased with your gift. I am the only one that matters.” (…sigh of relief.) Dear reader, if I could give you one gift this Christmas season, it would be this reminder… Play YOUR DRUM for HIM. Others may not understand your gift or even think it’s worthy to offer the Lord, but don’t let those voices hinder you. Play your best for Jesus, whatever that looks like for you. And when you do, close your eyes and feel His smile shining on you. Merry Christmas and God Bless! For Your Reflection… What is your drum? Are you playing your best for Jesus this Christmas or are you letting other voices stop you? Remember, his is the only voice that matters, so play with all your heart!