When I was five, I remember watching a program on PBS. It was a Christmas orchestra and it was the first memory I have of seeing instruments being played. I don’t recall remembering Mom say, “flute,” when I found myself fascinated by the way it looked on the screen, but I do vividly remember saying that I will play that someday…and I did.
Fast forward to my fifth grade year and I started in the basics of flute playing, as me and my peers would be in junior high the following year; Band became more of a big deal from there on out, if we chose to stick with it and practice. I had already been taking piano lessons since the first grade, so knowing my treble cleft notes on the scale and reading sheet music was a breeze–getting the notes to come forth from the flute was a different story. No matter how hard I tried that year, the instrument left me frustrated and quite winded (pun intended) from endless practice.
Practice paid off. Memories of junior high band…it was some of the best years of my teenage life. I loved it all–the concerts, Honor Band opportunities, solo and duet competitions at the college…and my favorite, Marching Band. There are always things you “wish” you could do; for me, it would be to play the drums. I would get the drum line cadence in my head and after practicing the field show songs, I would march downstairs to dinner. 🙂 As my hearing and playing instruments started to decline during college, I found anew music obsession that I could easily hear (and wish I could play): a drum set.
At Christmas, among the fun songs and the classics, we sing of Jesus’ birth and everything involved from that moment forward. One song, in particular, is my favorite. Not a hymn, but a simple story. A story of a boy, his three animal friends, and his drum: “The Little Drummer Boy.” By now, you should know that I am a fan of the oldies, especially from the years of late 80’s-early 90’s. In 1993, various Christian music artists put together a CD of different songs, labeling it Christmas. Of all the wonderful songs that I can still hear in my mind, the best is Whiteheart’s version of “The Little Drummer Boy.” Pure rock and drums. The little drummer boy, Aaron, must have had a good sense of beat anyway, because even “the ox and lamb kept time…”
After losing everything but his animal companions (a sheep, Baba; a donkey, Samson and a camel, Joshua), Aaron only possesses his drum and his ability to play. In the story, after he had followed the star to the manger, Aaron didn’t understand why everyone was in awe and worship for a baby in a manger. It is only after Baba gets injured that he approaches the baby Jesus and sets Baba before Him. What did Aaron have to offer? Being reminded to give all he has, Aaron gives the gift of music…a drumbeat from the heart.
Yesterday, as I struggled physically and needed extra help, thoughts of Jesus as a baby came to mind. He was God but in human form–newborn babies are helpless on their own and He experienced it. Then, when the time came, Jesus gave all He had out of Love. Over the year, I had chosen Love as my word, yet I am speechless as to all I have experienced and learned within that four letter word. Love is a gift and when yo have nothing, it is the greatest gift of all.