Advent Calendar Day 2: The Little Drummer Boy

This song is on the short list of department-store standards I can stomach.  It’s not a perfect song by any means, and I can’t much dispute any of Kyle Kinane’s arguments against it, but I like it.  Partly that’s because it’s a right pretty song, and that parumpumpumpum bit’s satisfying to the ear, and outright gratifying to sing.  Mostly it’s because of the sweetness of the little fable it gives.  It’s a little more treacly than I generally care for, but, well, it’s Christmas.

Here’s what “The Little Drummer Boy” tells us: the Christ may ask us to give everything we have, but he won’t ask for more than that.  Give yourself, and that’s enough, no matter how much or how little you’ve got to give.  And a broken and a contrite heart the Lord will not despise.  So don’t hold back when you devote yourself to the Way, but don’t be afraid of not measuring up.  The highest teaching of the Master is that we gain more than we can imagine when we give away our substance.  This is the way to live as a conduit for light.

One other reason I have a love for this song:


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