Wednesday, December 9, 2009

meditations on a song that drives me crazy

So I'm home sick from work. I went and made it about three hours today before I thought...why do this to myself? I'm tired, I'm still stuck with this cold that I've had for about three thousand days, and I'm a walking zombie. Let's move this show on home. So here I am in my PJs, looking forward to a nice long nap, but I've got this song stuck in my head...

So it's the 24/7 Christmas music time of year on my radio station of choice. I wish there were more than 8 Christmas songs, that's all. Other than that I like it. It's just there's only so many ways you can sing Joy to the World...and they all still pretty much sound the same. But whatever, I still like Christmas music. There is one (traditional) song in particular I don't like, however. I say 'traditional' because there are LOTS of "new" Christmas songs that don't float my boat...just stop, okay? Let's just be happy with our 8 established songs...stop trying to be creative, you money-grubbing music-makers!! But anyway, I digress. For years the song Little Drummer Boy has gotten on my nerves. It's all that rum-pum-puming. I mean, seriously. Rum pum pum pum?? I enjoy rum as much as the next person, but I don't feel the need to sing about it all up in my Christmas song. And in case rum isn't what they were actually intending to say with that little phrase...well, I don't think drums sound like "rum pum pum pum" either. I was in band for 7 years, I'm pretty much an expert. So the song just gets on my nerves. Especially when artists feel the need to get all crazy with their rum-pum-pumming. It's like, to cover up how embarrasing those syllables are, they're just going to go all crazy with them and really draw attention to them? It's ridiculous. So in general, if this song comes on (or God forbid, someone tries to make you sing it in church or anywhere else live) I either change the channel or struggle to suppress all my sarcastic comments. Or don't struggle at all and just let whoever happens to be nearest hear all my thoughts on the song. Lucky them!

So on Sunday as we were driving to church, the song comes on. Since it's the first time I've heard it all season, it was the perfect opportunity to re-state to Matt all my pent-up emotions about rum-pum-pumming and how unnecessary it is in life. This is obviously preferable to just changing the station, since that would require moving my arm, which is way too much work for me. My rants last throughout about the first verse, and then I ran out of words, so I was just stuck listening to the rest of the song. Oh, the horror.

And wouldn't you know, that in the midst of my judgement and my sarcasm and my derisive remarks, that God decided to speak to me. Or at least, to open up my heart a little. For reasons unbeknownst to myself, I started thinking about the song, and about a poor boy who had the opportunity to visit the King but had nothing to give. And about how inadequate and how dorky he must have felt as he weighed his options...should I go? Empty-handed? Or just stay here and miss the opportunity of my lifetime? And I don't know where exactly drummers stood on the social scene of those days (because theseadays, drummers are typically pretty cool...) but I guess he must have been broke (just like drummers today!! ha) and then someone suggests he play his drum. Right. Because that's cool. Unless you're banging on a full set (which I don't imagine this drummer had access to), playing a single drum all alone is not usually terribly exciting. It's not really a solo instrument. Maybe a djembe...but since the only info we have about what kind of drum this is is that it goes "rum pum pum pum", I'm going to have to surmise that it's more of a snare drum and not so much a djembe. And playing one snare drum, all alone, is not that cool. But he did it...he took what he had, and he did it with all his heart. And, according to the song, the baby Jesus...all 6 pounds, 7 ounces, laying in his holy manger (okay, maybe that was from Talladega Nights, yet another excellent source of historical information)...He smiled. He liked it.

And it's SUCH A DORKY STORY that I can't even believe I'm putting it here. But that really moved me that morning. The thought (not new, by any means), that whatever I do or have, I can do it or use it to bless my King. I think I too often pass over my own gifts and passions, thinking they're not really fit for the King. Prayer...that's what God likes. And burning passion for other countries. And like...evangelism. And none of those are things I'm "good" at. So I go on my way, sad that there's nothing I can give the King. And really, maybe I should just go on and do the things I can do...and do them with all my heart...and maybe those will bless Him, too. And prayer and missionary work and evangelism...all those ARE good things, and things God likes, but they're not the only things. And I forget that.

So thank you, Little Drummer Boy, with your rum-pum-pumming self, for reminding me of something important. And thank you, Mercy Me, for singing the coolest version of Little Drummer Boy I've heard yet. I like that thing you did at the end of the song that didn't involve any extra rum-pum-pumming and how it made me think and cry a little and it reminded me that God can and will use any means necessary...even really dorky remind His kids that He loves them.


  1. awww...softie.

    You've secretly loved that song all along. I knew it. I thought I recalled you singing all those rum pum pum's with gusto at all those wesley christmas services.

    the sarcastic comments never fooled me.

    on a more serious note...I love how God always decides to speak when we are cranky.

  2. I loved this post. And Kristina's comment about God speaking when we're cranky. So true.

    Have I told you my rule about always turning away from 104.7 when they play Third Day, and how I rarely get to listen more than about 15 minutes before that happens? Well, I guess now I have. For the record, if you need to turn away from that or any other song in the future, there is also Christmas music on 98.5 and 102.9.

    WV: castdow. Like cast down your sins. Or cast down overplayed cheesy music.

  3. I LOVE Little Drummer Boy. I can't believe after all these years this is the first I've heard of you not liking it!

  4. Speaking of rum pum pumming... As it is raining on Downtown Augusta, the dripping water from the spout of my office building sounds just like a Minuteman army. Pum pum pum pum pum pum.

  5. i'm actually a fan of the bing crosby/david bowie duet version of little drummer boy. i know, i know, go ahead and start making fun of me! ;)


I love comments almost as much as I love Mexican food. Seriously.