Down to the Nitty Gritty…Dirt Band

Sometimes you come across something that just surprises you. It’s like going through your grandparents’ pantry and finding a whiskey bottle – which may not be strange for your grandparents but was outrageously funny for mine. It’s like finding a $100 bill in the pocket of a pair of sweat pants or a snickers bar in the vegetable crisper.

I was building a play list for a Christmas party and I had one of those moments. It was one of the most simple and beautiful Christmas songs I have ever heard. And it was recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Really.

It’s a beautifully simple observation of the “why” of Christmas.

I was right, wasn’t I? It is simple and beautiful and draws you into the central fact that indeed love had brought Him here.

The reality is that Jesus came in a dirty, messy place. He came to a stubborn and self-centered people. He came right down into the dirt. And why?

That’s easy. It’s the core of what may very well be the most succinctly complete passage in the entire Bible.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Love moved God the Father to send His Son. Love is the motivating force for Jesus’ birth and life and death and resurrection. Love is the only hope of life and it only can be found through the Son who came down into the dirt.

God so loved…me. God so loved…you.

He loved us so much that He sent His own Son – all the way down to the nitty gritty dirt.

They were right. Love has brought Him here.

“Little Drummer Boy” – Seriously?

I must confess that I never particularly cared for the traditional Christmas song, “The Little Drummer Boy.” I have six kids of my own and I can tell you that, among many things not welcome at the scene of a newborn child, a drummer with his drum would be very high on the list. Then, of course, there’s the fact that there was no mention of musical accompaniment in the stable on the night of Jesus birth in the biblical record.

However, as a musician, I acknowledge the beauty of the simple melody. I enjoy Christmas music and the creative ways these old familiar tunes are reinterpreted year after year. As a friend shared the video below, I was enjoying this rendition by the a cappella group Pentatonix when the message of the song jumped out at me.

You see, it’s not about drums or a little boy with a drum or the stable where Jesus was born. It’s about giving.

Let me explain. The song tells the story of being invited to see the newborn King – just as we are all invited to revisit that wondrous occasion every year at this season. The story unfolds the realization that, being a poor little boy, he has nothing with which to bring an appropriate gift for a king. He recognizes that he can only give what he has to give. He has a drum. He has the ability to play it. That’s what he has to give.

So many times I think we fall into the trap of thinking that we don’t have enough money or spectacular ability or wondrous skill to give in service to God. We believe that God is good – that He is, in fact, the embodiment of love. Does it stand to reason that a God of love would ask us to give for His use anything that He has not already given unto us?

This beautiful old song is a testament of the glorious recognition that we ought rightly to do whatever it is that we were made to do in honor of our King.

Why is this a revelation to us?

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

[Official Video] Little Drummer Boy – Pentatonix

So, what is your drum to play for Him?