Every year I seem to have a Christmas theme.
This is unplanned. It just happens. It is usually based around a Christmas song that captures my attention, and a message that God seems to impress upon my heart through it.
This year is no different: A song has worked its way round all my advent activities and struck home. I hope you are blessed by this reflection, as I have also been blessed by writing it.
Little Drummer Boy
This year it started with a video that a friend shared at church. It is a version of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ by Gentri.
The song is well known to me, as I’m sure it is to most of you. It was first written in 1941 during the time of the second world war. The song tells of how a poor boy was summoned to come to the infant Jesus. Without any gift to bring, the little boy decided to play his drum. (Wikipedia).
Here are some highlights from the lyrics. I think they are best reflected upon first, and then listened to in the song:
Come they told me, a new born King to see.
Our finest gifts we bring, to lay before the King.
I have no gift to bring, that’s fit to give the King.
Shall I play for you, on my drum?
I played my drum for Him, I played my best for Him.
Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.
In particular, this video caught my attention. Its creators depict how we all have gifts to offer, however small, and they encourage us to use whatever gifts we have to help others. Here is the video:
For some reason, when it got to the line ‘and then He smiled at me’ (referring to Jesus), tears sprang into my eyes unexpectedly. What was that about??
I felt a connection with this young boy in the song, and could relate the sentiments to what I have been doing this year.
This year has been a very strange year for us all. And in the UK it has just got even stranger, as we are facing another wave of Covid-19 and more lockdowns.
But despite all that, I have loved the creativity that has sprung from this season. Those who have been creative and adapted their ideas have thrived:
People have made inspiring YouTube videos; businesses and restaurants have adapted; people have found ways to meet online; the world has suddenly become smaller due to the popularity of Zoom, and the realised ability to work with people from anywhere in the world.
And me? I have started writing.
A long time coming
Writing has been a long time coming. As a child I wanted to be an author, but I wasn’t confident enough to pursue it at that stage. However, I have seen it coming in my dreams for years, but it has never seemed like the right moment to start – until now!
I had insecurities to overcome: fear of criticism, and feelings of inadequacy. Was I just kidding myself? Would anyone actually read any of my blog posts? Was I just being selfish by wanting to write?
With the help of our loving Heavenly Father, who gave me many night dreams to encourage me, I finally stepped out and made a start. It was a huge learning curve: the technical side; the social media; and what to write about?
I knew it was God the day I sat down to plan my articles. By then I knew that I needed to write about my experiences of how God speaks through night dreams. By the end of that evening I had over fifty blog titles drafted, organised into series!
Then came the Christmas season
I wanted to write a blog post with a Christmas feel to it. But what to write? I had various ideas. For example, maybe I could write about dreaming of Christmas itself? Maybe I could write about the dreams surrounding the birth of Jesus in the bible?
Then, as I was waiting on God to hear His word, the following phrase dropped into my mind: “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”. I pondered on it for a minute, then the meaning suddenly gripped me: it was a wordplay on ‘dreaming of white’.
I suddenly knew without doubt that I needed to write about ‘dreaming of the colour white’ for my Christmas article. So I did.
Many of you will have seen the post already. But if not, here it is:
Contemplating the gift
Afterwards I sat with God and we contemplated the completed blog post together. I felt a sudden wave of His pleasure. He smiled at me – just like in the song! This was my Christmas gift to Him, and His gift to me. It was a priceless moment.
Since the summer, when I started writing, I would like to pretend that I have done so purely out of obedience to God. Mostly it was. But at times I have wished I had more people reading my articles. Looking at the website stats has been a demoralising experience.
At times I have researched ways of monetising my blog. Many people make a lot of money from blogging, it seems. But you need to put in a lot of effort to make that work. And you need a lot of website traffic, which I don’t have – yet!
But in the end I keep coming back to the same point. It doesn’t matter whether I’m successful or not. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads what I write, or if I make money. What matters is that God and I make each other smile.
As Dallas Jenkins, the creator of The chosen TV Series, says:
“Remember, your job is not to feed the 5000. It’s only to provide the loaves and fish.“
I played my best for Him
So this is my offering. My ‘drum’ is my pen and the desire to write. This instrument of worship has been hiding within me since childhood. And so I do it for Him.
What is your gift?
Take a moment to reflect upon this past year. Reflect on the things that have happened; who you are; who you’ve become; and the things that you’ve done. Maybe you could offer those things to God as your worship this Christmas? And maybe you will feel His pleasure too?
And you will smile together.
I will leave you with another version of ‘Little Drummer Boy’, which I love, and is performed by for KING & COUNTRY:
Stay safe and remain blessed.