I have no gift to bring
That's fit to give a King...
Shall I play for you?
I played my drum for Him,
I played my best for Him.
Then He smiled at me.
I thought I would go back to my original intention of The Twelve Blogs of Christmas and pick an obscure Christmas song lyric that oddly relates to my life. This one comes from two different vereses of The Little Drummer Boy. I realized it's hard to think of that song without the excess "pa rum pa pum pum rrrrrum pum pum pum" interludes but in the words above I think there's a pretty profound encounter with Christ going on. The drummer boy is lamenting - in the line just before the ones I chose - that he is a poor boy, just like the Christ child. Unlike the magi with their extravagent offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the fictional percussionist has nothing to give...except his service. He realizes that although he has no material goods, he can do for Jesus what he is good at doing: he can drum. In the next verse, following some poetry about musical barnyard animals we find that the drummer boy not only plays for Jesus, he plays his best for Jesus. I think that's the offering that God is always looking for. And the next line always gives me a little chill - "Then He smiled at me".
There's something about Christmas that sends the volunteerism bug echoing through people. There's that goody-goody happy feeling that people get when they help others and with a sort of infectious cheer everyone jumps on that band wagon at Christmas time. But I wonder if maybe there's an even better reason to serve. Maybe by giving the gift of ourselves, giving the very best of ourselves, we can bring a smile to the face of God. What better reward for the gift of serving - and not just any efforts, but our very best - than to see God smiling?
For the seventh year in a row Tony and I are serving at the East Aurora Gift Mart with Community 4:12. For those that haven't heard me gush about this awesome event, our church partners with other churches and businesses to collect a massive amount of new toys ($6-20 each). We then bring these toys over to schools in East Aurora and while we host a Christmas party for the kids at the schools, we set up a gift mart and sell the toys to the parents for $2 each. The money raised then goes back to the schools. It acts as a win-win-win situation in that the children have a blast, the parents get affordable gifts while still having the dignity to purchase their own, and it's a fundraiser for the schools. We call the model giving a hand-up rather than a hand-out. Seven years ago we began this endeavor at a single school in East Aurora. Now we have two gift marts in East Aurora serving four different elementary schools as well as a gift mart in East Joliet too.
At multiple events throughout the year - and especially at Christmas time - serving always reminds me of The Little Drummer Boy. I don't have a lot to give God in terms of material goods. My entire yearly salary is probably less than what some people at my church tithe. But I can serve. That's the song I can play. And I will play for Him. And I will play my best for Him.
Then He smiled at me.
Me and my drum.