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Fall Edition
Volume 99, Number 2

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Little Drummer Boy

Orchestra playing for Advent service

Lenora Wright '08

The orchestra ushers in the Christmas season with a celebratory spirit. 

By Renee Gray

Music is deeply important to my time of Advent preparation. It prepares my heart to allow the Spirit of God entrance into the most secret places. And, likewise, music, with meaningful and profoundly truthful lyrics, ushers me into the most Holy presence of a Most Holy God.

Since the age of eight, living in El Paso, Texas, one of my favorite Christmas musical songs has been “The Little Drummer Boy.” As a young girl, I clearly enjoyed the rhythm of the “pa rum pum pum pum.” In my early 20’s, though, at a time when my heart had become tender for God, listening to the “The Little Drummer Boy” for probably the fifth consecutive time, my heart heard more than the “pa rum pum pum pum” and my soul was penetrated by lyrics so deep and meaningful.

“Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum.
A new born King to see, . . .
Our finest gifts we bring, . . .
To lay before the King, . . .
So to honor Him, . . .
When we come.”

I imagine the Magi, traveling to see the King of Kings, bringing their finest gifts to honor Him. Along the way, the Magi encourage others to come. At Advent each year, I ask myself, “Am I encouraging others — in my words, my deeds, the way I live — to come, to “see” the King of Kings?”

“Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum.
I am a poor boy, too, . . .
I have no gift to bring, . . .
That’s fit to give the King, . . .
Shall I play for you . . .
On my drum?”

The poor drummer boy felt he did not have a gift that was fit for the King, so he asked if he could present his talent as his “present.” During my time of Advent, am I purposing to not become engulfed in the exorbitant giving and receiving of earthly treasures? Rather, am I seeking to give a gift to the King, to give Him the only treasure I believe will honor Him — the treasure of my heart?

“Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum.
The ox and lamb kept time, . . .
I played my drum for Him, . . .
I played my best for Him, . . .
Then He smiled at me, . . .
Me and my drum.”

My mind paints a vivid picture of the drummer boy standing in the stable, beating his drum for Jesus; nearby, the ox and lamb are grazing or sleeping and realizing the high honor that is being given to the King. The stable animals come to attention and begin to march in step with the drummer boy’s rhythmic beat. The drummer boy played his best, and Jesus smiled. Advent is a time for me to inventory the gifts and talents that God has given me and to recommit them to Him. It is a time for me to make a fresh commitment to use my gifts and talents to the best of my ability so that God is honored.

As music prepares my heart to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior, my desire is that I may experience, as the drummer boy did, the smile of Jesus in response to my gift to Him.

Renee Gray is a development officer in the Department of Estate Planning.


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