I was browsing Apple music yesterday morning after dropping my daughter off at preschool and I had a moment of weakness...they fed me Christmas music...and I pushed play. Y'all I caved. On November 18. I know, you want to stop reading right now because I am now officially a "Christmas before Thanksgiving" person...I know...I used to be you. I would judge me, too - but trust me that it turns into something good :)
OK, so I click and go to Pentatonix's "Amazing Grace" (not specifically a Christmas song, but it's on their Christmas album...maybe because it is worship music and they don't know where else to put it since they don't classify as worship singers...I digress)...then, I go to For KING & COUNTRY's "Little Drummer Boy". First off, any rendition of this song is going to get me...likely crying and pushing repeat at least 5 times (not to take any credit away from For KING & COUNTRY), but this particular November morning, the Lord used their voices singing those lyrics to just overwhelm my heart.
If you haven't listened to this song acutely...rather, intentionally thinking through the reality that Jesus, the creator of the universe through His power and word alone, came down as a little baby - completely humbled and dependent and vulnerable, and people came from all over to worship Him because He came with a promise. If you haven't listened to it and thought of what it would be like to visit that baby that came to save the world...I encourage you to just sit there in awe and amazement for just a beat.
I often try to marvel at the reality of scripture. It's easy sometimes to hear this - or any part of the Bible - as a story, to think of the flowery parts as just that...feel-good fantasy, maybe skip over the confusing and less appealing parts, and go on with your day. But the truth is, He really was here. His life is actual history, and the history recorded leading up to His arrival was full of promise in Him alone. And there were real experiences of people walking on this earth at the same time with Him...and I can only image that those experiences were indescribable - even for those who interacted with Him not knowing who He was or what He came to do.
So let's think about this drummer boy:
He may have had merely a faint comprehension (if any) of who Jesus actually was.
He surely had no idea what Jesus would teach about loving God and loving others; flipping the script for the world in so many ways.
He had no idea that this baby would one day teach about a righteousness that comes apart from the law - that it doesn't matter all the things we "do", how "moral" we try to act, all the ways we are "religious" , all the ways we tire to meticulously keep the biblical and traditional laws as the religious leaders led out. None of that brings us into the presence of a Holy God. We cannot earn that righteousness; rather, it is given to us.
This drummer boy didn't know Jesus would show us true joy on this earth is deeply being with the Father instead of solely looking at what God can give us. That it's not religion, it's a relationship that our God is after.
He didn't know that this baby would model true, abiding dependency on the Father throughout His 33 years on this earth, paving a way for God's children to have that same intimacy with Him.
He didn't know that each and every Old Testament prophesy would find its YES in Jesus.
He likely (along with majority if not all of Jewish culture) believed Jesus, this Messiah, would be a great military and powerful leader to free them from Rome.
This drummer boy thought the oppression they had was earthly and from Rome, when Jesus came to reveal that it was the chains to sin and death that He was going to free us from...for eternity.
He couldn't have imagined the agony of physical torture Jesus would go through as He became our suffering servant. The One who sits on the throne most high, suffered in our place.
He didn't have an inkling of the depth to which Jesus would suffer bearing the burden of our sin - experiencing separation from the Father to whom He had been united to for all eternity.
This drummer boy didn't understand the eternal pain on Jesus's heart that would cause Him to feel completely alone and forsaken as He became sin even though He knew no sin.
This drummer boy couldn't have known that Jesus would not only bear this burden, but defeat sin and death by rising from the dead and being a Savior to all who believe in His work.
There was a lot this drummer boy didn't have a clue about. BUT it is clear that when He saw Jesus, he knew he wasn't worthy to be there in His presence. He knew:
"I have no gift to bring...that's fit to give the King."
He knew whatever he had to offer, Jesus was worthy of infinitely more. He knew all he could give Jesus was all he had, and in faith, all of him played that drum.
And that is exactly what Jesus wants from us - all of us. Not for us to search up and down for the perfect offering; to become clean or righteous enough...clean up our act...or look at our act and think we are too far from His reach...too far from Him to feel a real relationship with our God. Instead, He just wants us to bring what we have...as it is. He wants me. Every piece of me. My baggage, my lacking, my weakness, my pain, my doubts...all. of. it. And He wants this of you, too.
"Then He smiled at me..."
That's the most amazing part of all of this. The drummer boy brought his whole self. All he had, which could never be enough for the King of kings - for the One the angels declare as Holy Holy Holy - but Jesus's response? Not only acceptance of this faithful boy, but delight in him. And that is true of me. This is true of you...Jesus delights in you! I have a hard time accepting that a lot of the time. How could Jesus in His perfection who needs nothing from me, delight in me? As hard as it may be for me to delight in myself and accept that He does, the truth is He delights in taking my burdens, in shaping my heart, in comforting me, in loving me...He delights that His work on the cross means I have hit my knees in worship, dependency and I have found real life in Him.
So...bring your drum, friend. Bring it all. Play for your Savior.