Friday, December 19, 2014

Then He Smiled At Me

I was listening to the radio the other morning and the song “The Little Drummer Boy” came on.

I’ve heard it a million times.

I’ve sang it a million times.

I watched the claymation movie when I was younger.


But I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics.

I mean REALLY paid attention.

Read them:

Little Drummer Boy: Lyrics
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum 
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum 
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum 
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum, 
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum, 
When we come. 

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum 
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum 
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum 
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum, 
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, 

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum, 
On my drum? 

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum 
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum 
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum 
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum, 
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, 

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum 
Me and my drum.

I had no idea that this song was about realizing our purpose.

Let me explain.

“I am a poor boy too”

Don’t you love that this line says, “too”?

That means that the drummer boy recognized that our King of Kings was right then, right there, “slumming it” in a manger.

He could have had all the material things of this world.

But he was lying in a manger.

The drummer boy could relate to that.

God is so good to meet us right where we are.

No matter who we are.

“I have no gift to bring,
That’s fit to give the King.”

Havent we all, at some point, felt "not good enough"?

But the pure humbleness of the little drummer boy’s “not good enough” revealed his ultimate need for a savior. That on his own, he was destined for death and that through this baby, death would be overcome.

I could see how the drummer boy would be overwhelmed 
with a gift big enough, 
appropriate enough, 
worthy enough, 
of such a sacrifice.

One day, in heaven, we will feel the same when we are presented with crowns bejeweled. We will be thoroughly aware our own unworthiness, so much so, that we will cast those crowns right at the feet of Jesus, the only one worthy.  (Revelation 4: 9-11.)

“Shall I play for you… on my drum?”

Of course, the only gift the drummer boy could offer is the very gift hed received from the one he desired to play for.

And I love that he asked permission.

Seeking the will of God.

And he waited to receive it.

“Mary nodded”

Speaking for her son and her savior, 

too young to speak on His own, 

using the Spirit to prompt her to nod, yes.

“The ox and lamb kept time”

Can you even imagine?

I envision them like a swaying gospel choir filling in behind the manger and the the little drummer boy.

…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2: 10-11

“I played my drum for Him.
I played my best for Him."


This isn’t about giving a gift.

It’s about using our gifts.

About honoring the King, Jesus, 
with the gifts He’s given us.

The part that struck me the most when really listening to the lyrics was:

“Then He smiled at me."

Isn’t that amazing?

He smiled! This tiny, new born baby, smiled in encouragement at the little drummer boy!


This baby,
 our King, 
made flesh, 
yet still God, 
recognized the gift offering of 
the little drummer drumming his drum.

Pa rum pum pum pum

“Then He smiled at me.”

While this very human baby was in need of all the care a newborn requires,

He was still God, who is love

and he couldn’t help but smile at the little drummer boy.

Not in a thumbs-up-I-am-the-Roman-emperor-and-I-am-pleased kind of way.

But in an encouraging-attaboy-yay kind of way.

How could He not?

This young boy, had it right.

He didn’t scramble to buy something he couldn’t afford 
in an attempt to impress the King.

He didn’t try to add up all his good deeds in a 
performance report for the King.

He didn’t run away assuming he could never 
be good enough for the King.

In fact, he didn’t think his gift was 
“not good enough” at all. 

He simply asked permission to offer it.

“Then He smiled at me.”

Not because it was the greatest drum solo ever.

But because it was the

Being in the presence of the Lord,

offering back what we’ve been given.

And we get that opportunity every day.

We just have to recognize it.


  1. Anonymous9:26 AM

    I love this so much Karmen. I have always loved this song- check out the Jars of Clay version. Ethan was the little drummer boy in a church play a couple years back and his last line of the play was, "Oh, look, he just smiled at me!" So sweet. G xoxoxo

    1. Awwwwww…that just made me tear up. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is much truth there. Just a simple little song, but often in the simple there is such an elaborate amount of grace and much to be gleaned. It is a picture of how God operates, taking what we see as small and multiplying its worth and ability exponentially. Such as with the loaves and fish...just a little bread and a little fish but when used by God it fed the masses with much left over. Just a small boy and a little drum but when used for God it made the Creator and Author of life smile. I know that the song is just a song, but the moral is the same. You turned a song into a parable. I love it and you!


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