What the Little Drummer Boy Taught Me this Christmas

Does music ever make you cry?

It might be the haunting melody or emotive lyrics, or maybe a particular song brings a memory to mind of a time gone by or a loved one no longer with us. One song left my cheeks stained with tears this Christmas and when I realised why, it took my breath away.

You know the one.

The Little Drummer Boy.

I’ve always categorized it as just a catchy Christmas song, but now I know it holds a meaning far deeper than just a pretty song.

It holds a beautiful message that I’m going to share with you.


Picture Credit


“Come, they told me…”

I’m not sure who “they” are but this little drummer boy was called to worship. And you know who calls us to worship, don’t you?


It’s a direct command. Come. Stop being where you are and go to Jesus, the King.

And do it now.

Don’t wait until you feel ready, or you have it all together. In all your brokenness, in your sin and ugliness, come.

Behold your King.

James 4:8 says: Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.


He wants YOU.

“I have no gift to bring… that’s fit to give a King”

The Little Drummer was poor. Approaching royalty with empty hands is an intimidating thought especially when those around you appear wealthy and have grand plans of what to take to Jesus (frankincense anyone?).

I feel like this often and I certainly have been feeling this way this Christmas. Worn out and broken, after a hard year of pain, loss and change. Difficult change. To be honest, I feel inadequate and empty and I certainly don’t have anything of worth to offer my King.

Ever been there?

This song reminded me of a basic biblical truth:

None of us are good enough. Period. All our deeds of righteousness are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

He wants ME. Not my attempts at righteousness.

Just me. Empty and open to receive HIM.


He’ll use you for His purposes

“The ox and lamb kept time…”

The Little Drummer played his drum for Jesus and the animals in the stable heard his rhythm and joined in. This would make a great Pixar short, don’t you think?

In your brokenness and humility as you approach Jesus, others might join in.

God can use us for His kingdom despite our weaknesses and doubts.

In fact, that’s how He loves to work. It’s a truth threaded throughout the bible. God uses the broken and weak, the people no one looks to. The sinners, the tax collectors, the lowly fishermen or shepherd boys.

Even His own son (Isaiah 53:2).


He’ll give you what you need to worship Him

“I played my drum for Him… I played my best for Him”

The Little Drummer Boy didn’t have much. He just had his drum. I’m sure it didn’t seem like anything special when he compared it to the fancy brass instruments or the lead vocals, in fact he probably felt small and insignificant.

Do you ever feel that way?

Maybe in your own opinion, your gifts and talents aren’t good enough. Here’s the thing though, when you take what The Lord has given you and you use it all for Him; when you’re a faithful steward, it’ll become the most beautiful form of worship you could ever imagine.

So be like the poor widow (Mark 12:41-44); take all you have and put it in the hands of the King.

Worship Him.


He will delight in you.

“Then, He smiled at me…”


The Little Drummer boy received the greatest gift in return for his faithfulness and boldness. His King delighted in Him.

His King smiled at him.

I can’t think of anything more precious in the entire universe, can you? I know exactly what that smile meant and I think you do too…

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25: 21.


So the next time you hear this precious little song, think about its message. Come and adore your King, as you are, give Him everything you have and be used by Him as He delights in you.

You were made for this.


This is my favourite version of The Little Drummer Boy. Happy sigh.



3 thoughts on “What the Little Drummer Boy Taught Me this Christmas

  1. Rikki says:

    Just reading the lyrics here gave me a lump in my throat. My favourite version is by the Acapella group Pentatonix. Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing Cols.


  2. Arthur Porter says:

    That is so beautiful, I have never thought about the deep meaning you have found in this beautiful Christmas Carol I so dearly love.


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