Little Drummer Boy
by Joshua Pantalleresco
My two favorite Christmas songs are Silent Night and Little Drummer Boy. Little Drummer Boy in particular fits 2020 especially well. And that is what I want to talk about. The story of the Drummer Boy is a touch more complicated than you remember. It teaches a great lesson about charity that I think is often overlooked in this more commercial season each and every year.
I Have No Gift to Bring That's Fit for a King
The little drummer boy didn't have anything to offer the newborn king. As he stood in line in awe of the birth of the savior, thoughts of what to give Him kept rumbling over and over in his head. To his sadness and shame, there was nothing he could give.
All he had was himself and his drum.
Times are tough right now. Only a chosen few can afford the finer things in life. The latest gadgets and toys are more and more just the exclusive property of the Jones'. The rest of us this year have no hope of keeping up. In light of the world being on this weird pause in the journey, buying for Christmas seems like the last thing on most of us minds.
What's worse, some of the things we take for granted aren't available this year. I can't see my grandmother on Christmas in Detroit right this minute and it's killing me. Fifteen miles and an imaginary line means I can't go see her. I haven't been able to see her since I got back here.
I've been chasing my dreams so money is a little tight right now (who isn't right now right?). So right now I just have a drum in my hand. What can I do to give thanks this Christmas?
Play my drum of course.
Shall I play for you?
I have a lot of options this Christmas. I'm experimenting with drawing right now. I'm trying to write my story for a Christmas or New Year's release. I podcast. I'm playing my music for all to listen and see. It's nothing special to me. It's what I do everyday.
It's what the drummer boy did every day. He played the drums. With nothing else to contribute the drummer boy played his best for the baby Jesus. And you know what? Sometimes that's enough.
I used to work for a well known author. Christmas that year there was a lot of struggle. The writer's strike was in full swing and no one was getting paid where I was. The author who I worked had an amazingly talented brother who was drawing presents for his family. He was furious because he didn't have the ability to buy presents for his kids and his wife. All he had was his God given talents and he used them to the best he could.
I get it. He probably had to do that far too many times in the past and didn't want to do it again, but sometimes, it's not the present it's the thought. And from a very selfish perspective, I didn't see it that way though.
The individual forgot just how talented they were. Even now, I still wish I had the drawing he gave me in the spring. I had to leave it there when things took the turn they did. It didn't feel right to keep it, but he did amazing feats of magic that Christmas.
You can too.
Most people take themselves for granted with what gifts they have. The drives and struggles of today distract us from the fact that we all have amazing talents, and if this year you can only call on them to give to others, it's okay. It's all you have.
The man who gives his whole fortune is giving a greater gift than the man who gives only a crumb. If it's all you got, it's the most amazing thing you can do.
Little Drummer Boy is secretly a gift exchange
It's not just the drummer boy that gives a gift here. Jesus does. As a baby, Jesus had no gold to give or the ability to do anything else but smile. And smile he did. He appreciated the drummer boy for playing his absolute best. Each of them got a gift.
For the last few months I've been giving inspirational messages to random people. To my surprise I've gotten some of the kindest, most generous responses I've ever received in my life. I seem to touch the people I care about with them. I'm not just giving, but I'm getting too. We're all struggling right now. A kind word goes a long way. An I love you is worth more than gold right now. For in the end, all we have is each other.
And maybe this year especially we've learned the value of that.
Be kind to each other this holiday season. Sing the best song you have, play to your hearts content and let people know you appreciate them. Isn't that the real spirit of the holidays. We can connect, so let's do so this holiday. This isn't the world we want right now, but we can still make the best of it. I know I intend to.
Read on for more about Joshua...
CLOUD DIVER: Level 1
Written by Joshua Pantalleresco
Illustrated by Lance Buan
Johnny Wheeler was perfectly happy being a diver in Void Life. One fateful day doing his job in cyberspace he ends up finding a secret floor in the tower, and finds a woman with a Gunblade walking towards an ancient storage system known as the cloud. Johnny follows her and gets a file that everyone from zombie mobsters to unicorns that farts rainbows are after. Johnny's only escape from this adventure business is that girl with the Gunblade (who may or may not like him very much.)