My 4-year-old grandson couldn’t sit still. Last night’s children’s Mass hadn’t even begun and I could tell by the look in his parents eyes they thought we were in for a long 90 minutes. But it wasn’t sugar cookies or presents or a crowded church that was bothering him.
“Aunt Sam is going to miss the best part,” he complained to me. Sam, short for Samantha, had stepped out for a drink of water before Mass began. Calvin was worried she was going to miss what he perceived as the most important part of the event. He wriggled around looking for her as I tried to soothe him.
“The Mass hasn’t started yet, Calvin,” I explained. “This is just the music they play before Father comes in. She has time. Sit back and enjoy the children’s choir.”
“But it’s the best part. Parum-pa-pum-pum. That’s the best part.” And I understood. Calvin had been waiting to hear The Little Drummer Boy, and now that it was being sung, he wanted to make sure his Aunt enjoyed it with him. Fortunately, at that moment Aunt Sam slid into the pew and they both enjoyed a few choruses of “Parum-pa-pum-pum” together.
He settled down, the Mass began, and Christmas is here once again. And a wriggly-but-thoughtful 4 year-old gave me something to think about. We’re going to be busy with family, friends, gifts, meals and lots and lots of excitement. But don’t get so busy that you miss the best part.
The little drummer boy in the song had nothing to give but himself and his simple talents on the drum; parum-pa-pum-pum. But he gave what he had. And it was the best part. A kind but misunderstood man 2,000 years ago had no gold or other gift to give. Nothing but himself. And he gave what he had. And it was the best part.
Never believe that you have no gift to give. You are God’s creation. Give yourself and you have given a gift fit for a king. It’s the best part.