What We Can Learn from the Little Drummer Boy

little drummer boy

Let’s talk about The Little Drummer Boy.

My friends and I went to Carols in the Park on Sunday. It’s a free event held in Pittsburg, TX. As mentioned on their Facebook page, you can “come stroll through [their] indoor ‘park’ and be mesmerized by the beauty and splendor of trees—each tastefully decorated to depict the elements of a different Christmas carol. Each year at least one new carol -themed tree is added. Light refreshments and coffee are available each evening. It is an event that you have to see to believe and it only happens every other year, and it is FUMC Pittsburg’s gift to the community!”

My mom went a few years ago and again this year, so she encouraged me to go! I grabbed a few friends and off we went! It really was breathtaking. I absolutely loved reading through each hymn and gazing at the Christmas trees. Although I know the hymns by heart, I felt moved as I read each line. It was as if I were reading them for the first time.

To me, song lyrics are a lot like Bible verses.

You take away something new each time you read/hear them.

This time, the last few stanzas of The Little Drummer Boy made my heart skip a few beats.

If you’re not familiar with the lyrics, see below:

The Little Drummer Boy


Come they told me pa rum pum pum pum
A newborn 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 honour Him pa rum pum pum pum


When we come
Baby Jesus 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 a 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

Specifically, I want us to focus on the last two stanzas.

“I am a poor boy, too. I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give a King. Shall I play for you on my drum?”

“I played my drum for Him. I played my best for Him. Then, he smiled at me.”

I could not control my emotions in that moment and want to stress the importance of these lyrics and the meaning they bring.

As mentioned, the little drummer boy is poor and has no gifts to bring baby Jesus. And yet, in that moment, he feels overcome with this desperate need to give something, anything, to the newborn King.

It was such a simple offering…but the very same offering we often avoid giving. 

I imagine the little drummer boy looking over his shoulder and seeing the three wise men standing with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh laying at their feet. Although I can’t speak for the little drummer boy, if it were me, I probably would have felt intimidated…ashamed…embarrassed.

I’d take one look at their gifts, my face (now) beet red, and want to hightail it out of there. My thoughts would probably include:

“I don’t have enough.”

“I’m not worthy.” 

“I can’t stand before Him…not like this.”

What I love about the little drummer boy is that he feels drawn to give what he can, regardless of the gifts others have already given. 

So, he did what he could.

The little drummer boy looked down at the instrument strapped around his waist and chose, in that moment, to offer the most genuine, sincerest act of faith. He played his drum for Jesus and, not only that, the little drummer boy played his best for Jesus.

And would you like to know what happened next?

Jesus SMILED at him.


little drummer boy

How often do we hesitate to give Jesus anything because we look at what others have given and feel too ashamed or embarrassed to approach the throne? We feel as if what we have to offer isn’t worthy or fit for a King. So, instead of giving what we have, no matter how big or small that offering may seem from a worldly view, we choose not to give Him anything at all.

Jesus doesn’t expect perfection from us. He wants purpose and presence. He wants us to be intentional and sincere. Maybe this means bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh…or maybe this simply means playing the drum strapped around our waist to the best of our ability.

The Little Drummer Boy teaches us and reminds us that Jesus just wants our hearts. He wants our very best. Whatever it is we are able to give Him, that’s what He wants. 

It reminds me of Mark 14:3-9,

A Woman Pours Perfume on Jesus at Bethany


Jesus was in Bethany. He was at the table in the home of Simon, who had a skin disease. A woman came with a special sealed jar. It contained very expensive perfume made out of pure nard. She broke the jar open and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head.


Some of the people there became angry. They said to one another, “Why waste this perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s pay. The money could have been given to poor people.” So they found fault with the woman.


“Leave her alone,” Jesus said. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. You will always have poor people with you. You can help them any time you want to. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare me to be buried. What I’m about to tell you is true. What she has done will be told anywhere the good news is preached all over the world. It will be told in memory of her.”

Onlookers saw fault in the woman…but Jesus knew she did what she could and what she did would now be preached throughout the world.

We are all equally loved and valued and cherished by Jesus. It doesn’t matter our age, our upbringing, our experience, or our social status. Jesus loves each of us deeply.

We may not have a lot to give (from the world’s perspective), but Jesus knows our hearts and that’s all He asks of us. The Little Drummer Boy was enough, just as he was. We, too, are enough…just as we are.

If you’re hesitant to give your life to Jesus, please know He welcomes and invites you in, exactly the way you are. Despite what the world tells us, Christmas isn’t about who can give the most expensive, elaborate gift. It isn’t about trying to impress Jesus.

It’s about having and developing a relationship with Him, the King.

What you have to give Him is enough. Don’t look to your left and right. Give your very best. Even if those around you see fault in you, Jesus doesn’t. Make a sincere and childlike offering to Him today. Give Him all you have…your heart. 

Because giving your heart to Jesus and surrendering your life to Him is the best decision you will ever make. 

That one offering will change everything.

What you do may not be preached throughout the world, but I can assure you, it will be rejoiced throughout the Heavens.

Grab your drum.

Go and stand before Him.

There’s no better time to do this than now.

P.S. — Learn how to represent Jesus this holiday season in a way that leaves others wanting to come back for more! Get my *FREE* Ebook, The Sweet Taste of Jesus, right here.

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