The little drummer boy has long been one of my favorite Christmas carols of all time. It tells the story of a poor boy that feels inadequate to give any king a gift but offers all he has to the new king in hopes that it will be enough. It was written by Katherine kennicott Davis in 1941 as the carol of the drums and recorded by the Trapp family singers in 1955.

first verse
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

in the first verse the little drummer boy is telling how he had heard the call to come and see the king. Billions of us throughout the world have heard the call throughout history to come unto Jesus Christ. Prophets foretold his coming and he has issued the call himself on numerous occasions. Mathew 11:28 says “¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The king is new born and the story tells of a little drummer boy who is bringing his finest gifts,  just as we too must bring the best we have to offer him so that we can lay it before this new born king as an offering and tribute. This is greatly symbolic in that we should give Christ the Lord our best in all that we do, and in all that we can offer.

second verse
So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

In the second verse the reason for the season is stated in that we do this to honor him. We come unto him to pay him honor and tribute in thanksgiving for all that Christ the Lord was sent here to do for us. The gifts we provide are for his honor not our own, but to show our respect for his Divine atonement and to honor him as the God that he is.

Third verse
Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy to, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give a king, par rum pum pum
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

In this verse we see the drummer boy acknowledging the poor conditions that the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born into. He states that he is poor as well and feels his gift is inadequate and feels that he has no gift fit for this king. He acknowledge that in his poverty he cannot hope to give Christ a gift that could possibly repay what he was sent here to do. We are like this poor boy in that we can never repay the gift that Christ has given us. Nothing we can give or do will ever be fit for the precious give of Eternal life that our God and Savior Jesus Christ has offered to bestow on us if only we live his gospel

fourth verse
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

In this verse I Imagine this poor shepherd boy standing before the lord. he asks if he should play for him, thinking, is it worth it? What are the chances he will accept my offering? Can I really expect this gift to be accepted?  He is scared and frightened that his offering won’t be accepted. That he won’t be able to meet the lords expectations. Trembling with fear that the music of his heart will never be enough to express his love and gratitude for the Gift Christ gave us all, That of the atonement and forgiveness. Do we ever feel this way ourselves. I know I am constantly doubting my own worthiness before the Lord. I constantly question if I have offered enough and weather what I have given has been accepted. I have felt that I have given my all but it is still not enough.

Fifth verse
Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

In this verse Mary the mother of Christ gently encourages this young boy to play his drum and make his offering. This gave him the strength to overcome his fear and he played his heart out for the Lord. He gave it his all, gave everything he had to offer and turned his soul and heart over to the Lord. Hoping with new found faith that maybe, just maybe his offering might be accepted by Christ and that his gift and thus he also would be accepted of Christ. In our lives we often need to be encourage to offer what we have, though we may not feel it is enough. It is only our hope that keeps us going at times. With that hope we give it everything we have. We love out God with all our heart, with all our souls, and with all our minds. We serve him and give him everything.

sixth verse
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

This verse represents the hope we all have. The little drummer boy fearful his offering would not be accepted. I imagine him standing there feeling quite nervous, eagerly anticipating and waiting to see if his meager offering would be accepted by Christ. We like the Little Drummer boy wait and hope and pray that Christ will accept our offering. Then against all hope Christ smiles at him. I Imagine him not being able to hold back any longer, starts to weep like a baby having his heart lightened and his fears swept away in the knowledge that the Savior Jesus Christ has accepted him and his offering at last. I imagine his tears of joy could not be contained as his soul is filled with the love, peace and happiness that we all desire. I imagine him weeping at the bed of the new born babe never being able to fully comprehend the love the savior has but ever grateful for the outpouring of his acceptance for the meager offering that is so little yet all we can do.

The story told in this beautiful carol is one of forgiveness and love. A timeless tale that as my daughter once said on the doorsteps of the temple “this makes my heart feel special”  I love this song, I love the faith of the little drummer boy and the ultimate acceptance of Christ. I praise my God and Love him with all my heart and hope that he too will “smile at me” and accept the meager offering that I have given him, so that I too can feel as the Little drummer boy must have when Christ accepted his small gift of the heart.

This Christmas season I pray that we will remember whose birth it is we are celebrating. I pray that we will remember that the most important gifts are not things we buy in stores or online. The most important gifts we can give are those of the heart. I pray that we will play our drums for him, and play our best for him, not just for Christmas but for our entire lives. May Christ accept our offerings as little or meager as they may be that we may return to live with him again. God bless you and Merry Christmas!!




  1. My favorite Christmas song. And my favorite Christmas TV special (along with the Grinch and A Charlie Brown Christmas). Something my dad used to play every Christmas morning. Thank you for posting this.


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