My friend asked me last January to make some outdoor Christmas decorations for the next season. She wanted two separate Grinches stealing Christmas lights; one for her and another for a friend. (You can’t say I didn’t have enough advanced notice.) And after the last several months of juggling work life and domestic duties, I wanted nothing more than to bury myself in sawdust and just make stuff.
My jigsaw and I hadn’t seen each other in such a long time. We had a lot to catch up on. So there we were in the basement, cutting shapes out of plain wood boards, just like old friends who need no reacquainting.
I flipped on the radio because I needed a different tune than the one that was stuck in my head non-stop for far too long. You know the one.
“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch…”
I pop in my earplugs when using my saws, which means my workshop radio plays pretty loud. Ironic? Maybe.
It was just this last Thanksgiving weekend, so of course, my usual station was pumping out Christmas music. I was having such a blast creating these Grinches from start to finish, that I wasn’t really paying attention to the tunes.
Until a particular song came on. I stopped what I was doing, pulled out my earplugs, and just listened.
“Come” they told me,
A newborn King to see
There are countless versions of The Little Drummer Boy out there, and you and I have probably heard most of them. Normally I hum along rather mindlessly. We’ve heard all these songs so many times that they’ve lost their meaning in a sense. Don’t you find them to be more nostalgia than message? (Unless it’s O Holy Night- it gets me every time.)
This version, however, it was different. Raw. Almost irreverent in the rough texture of the lead singer’s voice and his unpolished phrasing. And the guitar solo- it was wild. Free. And so right.
I thought about the story of this song, while the band played with abandon. It was meaningful again; fresh. Relevant and real.
I have no gift to bring… To lay before the King
Shall I play for You… On my drum
That was the message- giving all that we are all that we have to the King, with abandon. Dancing with our lives the same wild way King David danced before the LORD. Unashamed. So passionately, and sincere, and uncultured that his wife was embarrassed. But the LORD, the only One the honest gift of that dance was for, He was pleased.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…
That word up there, “heartily”, could be translated “from the soul”. Think on that… whatever we do, anything and everything. Making Grinches with a jigsaw in our basement. Making lunches for school. Giving flu shots. Singing in the shower. Raking leaves. Delivering packages. Praying over dinner… from the soul.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Whatever we do, with all that we have and all that we are. With wild kindness, wild forgiveness, wild generosity. Wild patience, wild hope, wild faith. Wild gentleness- really, there is such a thing. And not for the nod of approval from coworkers, other drummers, or skeptical spouses. Not according to our culture, our church, our family. For Him alone. Just Him, and you, and your drum- whatever that is.
I have tried, and tried, and tried to find the artist of that version I heard. I’ve put time into this. Yet I still don’t know who’s Little Drummer Boy it was on the radio that Saturday morning. I’ll keep digging, and when I do find it, I’ll update it here.
Merry Christmas, Friend!