Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drummer Boy

While driving home tonight, I decided to listen to our local Christmas song/carol station. During the drive, the song "Little Drummer Boy" came on (Josh Grobin singing). Now, I'm sure many are familiar with the song and the story it tells. A poor boy with a drum comes across the Magi on their way to present their "finest gifts" to Jesus. Once they arrive, the boy says,

Little Baby, I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give the King. Shall I play for you, on my drum?

The Magi have gold, incense, and myrrh, and despite these gifts, the boy feels compelled to offer something, anything to this newborn King. All he has is his drum, which he plays. The story continues:

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,

Now here's what got me:

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

Here, this poor boy with nothing to give the King of kings, plays "his best" on his drum as a gift, and the reaction from this tiny baby who would save us all is a smile. It's a humbling thought that no matter our limitations, no matter our weaknesses, all Jesus asks is our "best", and I think when we do that, he smiles.

It also reminds me of when I come home from work and when my daughter sees me, she runs over, asks me to pick her up, and gives me a big hug. I hope we all make Jesus smile, not only during Christmas, but every season in life. Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent... It's not Christmas yet!

As this season of Advent gets underway, Christmas songs are playing on the radio, people are out shopping more than usual for gifts, and decorations and trees are up around homes.

One of the things I appreciate as a Catholic is that we do not sing Christmas songs until after Christmas. Yes, that's right; no "Joy to the World", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", etc., until after (or on this year) Dec. 25. Instead, we sing Advent hymns, like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "People Look East" to name a couple familiar tunes. It seems contradictory to sing "Joy to the world, the Lord has come!" when liturgically, it hasn't happened yet!

Another thing I am appreciating more this year is that the liturgical year begins where it ends: Christ's return and God's kingdom. We end each year with the feast of Christ the King, which puts greater emphasis on the kingdom on earth, Christ's return. Advent continues this theme, because not only are we looking forward to celebrating Christ's birth, we are also at the same time looking forward to that day when he returns in his glory! This is why we can sing "People look east the time is near!" and "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel."

This Advent, may we all be reminded that while the focus is on Christ's birth, we must be vigilant and look for the day he returns!