Sacrifice and The Little Drummer Boy

In Daily Devotional by Steven Sukkau

Theme of the Week: Christmas Carols

Bible Verse: “Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:43-44

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:26, John 6:9

With Christmas comes a rich catalog of Christmas carols. Whether you’re at the mall, listening to the radio in the car, at work, or watching 8-year-old Kevin McCallister set a burglar’s head on fire with a blowtorch, you can’t escape hearing at least a few carols. For many, Christmas carols are a beloved tradition, whose melodies and harmonies carry our hearts and minds into the season.

All this week, we will pick out a meaningful lesson or truth in a favorite Christmas carol and try and understand the message, the writer, or the inspiration and how it points us to the wonder of the season.

One of my personal favorites is The Little Drummer Boy. Said to be based on an old Czech carol, it was first translated and recorded in 1941. It is also known as the Carol of the Drums, no doubt because of the percussive refrain “pa rum pum pum pum”.

The story is deeply relatable. It imagines a young boy invited to see the newborn King, Jesus. With such an honor, the cash-strapped kid realizes, to his shame, he has nothing to offer a king on his birthday. Instead, he plays his heart out for the baby, which, because of his sincere effort and skill, pleases the infant king.

It recalls the story of the widow at the temple. She gives very little compared to the larger tithes being offered by the wealthy Pharisees, but the offering represents all she owns in the world.

Just like the heartfelt gift of the little boy with his drum, Jesus takes a moment to appreciate it.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what we bring to the table. Too often, we believe the lie that we have nothing to offer. But that’s not true.

The widow, the child with the loaves and fishes, and the drummer boy, offered what they had. We too can offer what we have knowing the Lord can bless and multiply our gifts when they’re given humbly and generously.

This holiday season, it’s a reminder that the gift is more than the object or the is more amount. It is also the heart with which it is given. It’s a reminder that putting God first means putting our faith into action. And that generosity and believing God will provide are powerful ways to live.

Prayer: Father, help me bring everything to you in worship and keep nothing back. I trust you with my life and I know that in your hand is the safest place to be. Remind me of all the gifts I bring and how I can use them to bring you honor and glory.

Reflection: Are you holding something back because you feel it won’t make a difference? Do you wonder if you have anything valuable to offer? Spend some time today taking stock of your gifts and abilities and be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading in how you could share them with your community.

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Steven Sukkau
Steven Sukkau is a writer, journalist and radio broadcaster living on the Canadian prairies with his wife, two daughters and hyperactive terrier.
Steven Sukkau
Steven Sukkau is a writer, journalist and radio broadcaster living on the Canadian prairies with his wife, two daughters and hyperactive terrier.