Little Drummer Boy

What Does This Song Say?

At first glance it can seem like a pretty strange song to sing at church, right? Let’s look at the words and see if there is any reason to sing this song. Without all the pa rum pum pum pums the song says:

     Come they told me, a newborn King to see
     Our finest gifts to bring to lay before the King
     So to honor Him when we come.
     Little baby, I am a poor boy too
     I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give our King
     Shall I play for You?
     Mary nodded, the ox and lamb kept time
     I played my drum for Him, I played my best for Him

Without the filler drum sounds, the song already has more substance to it. But let’s dive in a bit deeper.

At the beginning of the song this little boy with a drum is told to come and see the newborn King. What is cool is this is the only thing they he is told to do in the song – come. Come and be present before the King of Kings who has become  flesh. Come as he is. Come with nothing to offer the King. Just come.

So, this little boy does indeed come to the King with no worth. He is a poor boy who knew he was unworthy of giving anything of any worth to proclaim his affection and worship. This leads him to do the only thing that he knows how to do – play his drum. He brings everything he has to the foot of the Savior. With no gift to bring, he simply brings himself. He brings himself and does what he knows how to do to express his affection for Jesus.

‘The ox and lamb kept time‘ is a seemingly strange line, but when you think about it is pretty cool. Here we see the stable animals joining in the song of praise to God – this shows the truth that all of creation will worship if human beings are silent. The praise could not be expressed by simply human beings; in Romans Paul says the whole of creation has been groaning since the fall – waiting for the Messiah who would come to redeem the whole of creation. The birth of Jesus has changed the tune of creation. There is now hope that can be seen, heard, and felt.

More here than I thought. This song shows the amazing grace of Christ accepting our broken, unworthy praises because He knows our heart.

1 reply
  1. Verlyn Gunnink
    Verlyn Gunnink says:

    Another thing that strikes me: ‘I played my best for him’. He did not just play; he played his best. Something we should do!


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