December 24, 2010

Play Your Drum.

Yoga Thoughts on the Gifts You Give.

The Little Drummer Boy
By Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone (1958)

Come they told me,
A newborn King to see.
Our finest gifts we bring
To lay before the king.
So to honor him
When we come.

Rum pa pum pum
Rum pa pum pum

Little baby,
I am a poor boy too.
I have no gift to bring
That’s fit to give our King.
Shall I play for you
On my drum?

Rum pa pum pum
Rum pa pum pum

Mary nodded.
The ox and lamb kept time.
I played my drum for him.
I played my best for him.
Then he smiled at me —
Me and my drum.

As I was driving the other day, this carol came on the radio. (OK, I admit it. I have the car stereo set to B101 — “All Christmas, All the Time!”) As I sang along, the lyrics really touched me.

During this season, I often feel that the gifts I give my loved ones simply don’t measure up to the great value these people add to my life throughout the year. I fret that I haven’t found just the right thing to show how much I care. I worry that my budget is not lavish enough to really illustrate my love. I know in my heart that it’s not the gift but the gesture of giving it that is important. I know deep down inside that it’s not what I give during the holidays that matters but what I give to our relationship all year long. However, despite knowing better, the season tends to sweep me up into its whirlwind of giving. And so I worry.

The little drummer boy worried, too.  “I’m poor.” he says.  “What could I possibly give to a king?” Then, in the pressure of the moment, he reaches deep down into himself and realizes he’s wrong. He does have a gift fit for a king. He’s a beautiful drummer. At least in the clay-mation film (directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr.), he’s so poor that he’s lucky to have a drum! He certainly hasn’t had training – his talent is part of who he is. When he plays, the music just happens. The music flows through him and it is breathtaking. The music he makes is so special that even animals recognize its beauty. (Remember the dancing sheep and donkey?) His music is love in action. By playing his music he allows God’s love to flow through him to light the world around him.

Through our yoga practices, we come to know ourselves intimately. We are led beyond the labels to which we’ve become so accustomed that it’s easy to forget they are not us. We realize we are not defined by our jobs, our relationships, our hobbies, our fears and passions, or our likes and dislikes. Yoga slowly and methodically sloughs away our assumptions and preconceptions about who we are and how we fit into the world. We make our way back to the light and love and joy that is at our center – that makes us expressions of God on earth. We’re not poor after all. We are blessed with gifts to give. Gifts indeed fit for a king – and for everyone else in our lives as well!

God has given us our gifts – talents, skills, personalities, intellects – and He wants us to use them as best we can. God wants us out in the world doing His work, spreading His love, shining His light by being who we are so that others can better see. God wants us to give of ourselves (all year round, mind you, not just during the holidays!). God wants us to reach deep down into ourselves and find our gifts to share with those we love the most as well those we hardly know. If we do this, I believe God will smile at each of us the way He smiled at the little drummer boy and his drum.

As I sang along to that simple song yesterday, its message echoed in my heart. I hope that in sharing it with you, you will recognize the magnitude of the gifts you give just by being yourselves. The world thanks you for “playing your drums” so beautifully.

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