The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25)We know about the shepherds keeping watch by night, and then the magi from the east who came to Jerusalem. We know about the innkeeper who told Mary and Joseph there wasnt any room, and we know about Herods malicious edict to kill the male babies of Bethlehem.
At a casual listen, though, the song is so simple, and clouded with so many pa-rum-pa-pum-pums, that it's not immediately obvious what's going on. The song opens, as the drummer boy narrates, with the magi recruiting him to join their journey to see Jesus. Come, they [the magi] told me...a newborn King to see...our finest gifts to bring.
Apparently, the drummer boy agrees to come along, and the lyrics fast-forward to him gathered around the young Jesus, acknowledging his poverty, admitting he has no gift to bring thats really fit for a king. But he does have this drum. And so he asks, "Shall I play for you?" To which Mary nods her approval, and then the drummer boy plays, and plays his best. Then Jesus smiles.
Me and My Drum
At this point, even though we know this isn't historical, we know it could have happened. In fact, in different forms, this sort of scenario has played over and over for thousands of years. Worshipers of Jesus compel their neighbors to consider him, to come and see him, as it were. And when they do, if they would believe, a moment happens when they realize their bankruptcy is exposed. They see Jesus and comprehend his glory, and then they look at themselves: But I am broken. I am empty and poor. I've got nothing to bring this King that even comes close to representing the honor that is due him. All I have is this drum.
This is all of us, you see. I am that little drummer boy, and so are you. Before we can be the magi inviting others to come, were the ones who feel completely inadequate. If we would see Jesus, and understand his significance, we can't help but sense our own frailty. All we have is this drum. What in the world could ever be enough for this King? We've just got this drum, so we ask, do you want that? Do you want this stupid drum? And he says, yes, bring your nothing, play the drum.
And so we play it for him, and we play our best for him, declaring that we are small, that we are weak, that he doesnt need us in the least, but that with all that we are, with the every little speck of nothing we have, we are giving it to him. To Him.
We know that this King has no lack, that he doesn't need anything, but that we, because of him, are absolutely, completely, wonderfully His. "Me and my drum” all His.