I have “The Little Drummer Boy” stuck in my head. You know the song. The Wise men were on the way to see Jesus, and this little kid tagged along. He was poor and he had no gift to give Jesus. He played his drum for the baby instead.
Some people say the Little Drummer Boy is a myth because he’s not mentioned in the Biblical accounts. How do they know? After all, the Bible doesn’t give us every detail. It doesn’t tell us how long Mary was in labor or if she had an epidural or if Joseph tracked down the Bethlehem midwives to help.
The Wise Men showed up a year or so later. No, they didn’t come the night Jesus was born, so you need to take them out of your nativity scene and put them in the next room over. You can move them a little closer to the nativity scene every day for the next ten months.
Since we’re being unconventional with our nativity scene, why don’t you add a dreidel? A dreidel (DRAY-dull) is a spinning top that Jewish kids use to play a game at Hanukkah. Sometimes you win chocolate. It’s perfectly okay to celebrate Hanukkah if you’re a Christian because Jesus celebrated it in Jerusalem at least once (see John 10). Here’s a picture of a dreidel.
The Wise Men and the Little Drummer Boy stopped in Jerusalem. It was Hanukkah (okay, we don’t know for sure, but work with me here), so they paused to spin a dreidel and eat some chocolate candy and light a candle on the menorah. A menorah is the candelabrum that Jews light at Hanukkah, and if you didn’t know that, you need some Jewish friends. The Little Drummer Boy was the best at the dreidel game, and he won most of the chocolate candy. Being poor, he had never tasted chocolate before, and he thought it was the best thing he ever put in his mouth.
The Wise Men went to see King Herod the Horrible (he was a beast, just trust me on this), and they learned from the Jewish scholars that the King of the Jews was to be born in Bethlehem.
“When you find this baby,” Herod said with a nasty gleam in his eye, “come back and tell me where he is, so I can worship him too.” They high-tailed it to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and toddler Jesus. The Little Drummer Boy played his drum, and Jesus said, “You’re pretty good, kid. Have you studied other percussion instruments?”
“I played a friend’s bongo drums once, but I can’t afford to buy a set.”
The Wise Men had just given Jesus gold coins, so Jesus gave a coin to the Little Drummer Boy.
“It’s on me,” said Jesus. “Go buy yourself those bongos.”
“Gee, thanks, Little King of the Jews,” said the Little Drummer Boy with a wide smile.
That night, the Wise Men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they put their hometown in Google Maps and clicked “Use alternate route.”
After the Little Drummer Boy arrived at home, he used the gold to buy bongos. He had some change leftover, so he went to a QuikTrip and bought some M&Ms. The rest of his life he nursed an addiction to milk chocolate. He never acquired a taste for the high-brow 75% cacao chocolate.
“That stuff tastes like tree bark,” he said.
Truer words were never spoken.