Have you ever really contemplated the lyrics of “Little Drummer Boy”? It's a story about a peasant boy's experience of the night Jesus was born. It begins like this:
“‘Come!’ they told him.
"A new born King to see! Our finest gifts we bring to lay before the King, to honor Him when we come’.”
Those inviting the boy to the nativity scene would surely be offering their most valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh — none of which the boy has, nor could he afford. Even though he has nothing extravagant to offer as a gift, he decides to show up.
When he arrives at the old barn, walks up to the hay-filled manger, and sees that baby Jesus is wrapped in old rags, he realises that Gods' greatest gift to humanity has come wrapped in the most humble and unassuming package. Standing beside the make-shift crib, the boy musters the courage to speak:
“Little baby,” he says to Jesus,
“I am a poor boy, too. I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give a King. Shall I play for you on my drum?”
He offers his own humble gift - his song. This made Jesus smile. :)
We were all born with a gift - a special purpose. The gift the Divine gave to you is what you have to give to others. How we live by the guiding light and the terms of that gift is our dharma, our highest duty. I'm not saying it's always going to be easy but it will feel right. Dharma is how we turn our special, unique, god-given gifts, talents, responsibilities, skills and inspiration into action.
The epic, Hindu song, Bhagavad Gita, tells us "it's better to try and struggle in our own dharma than to succeed in somebody else's." A teaching I often come back to.
We live in a look-at-me culture where fame and extraordinary achievements are always celebrated. We get confused and discouraged about our own dharma when we think it has to be something lofty, grandiose, high-minded or like somebody else's. Humble dharma isn't about competition, comparing yourself to others, ego, or getting credit for service.
Today, on Christmas, ask yourself what is the true gift you have to offer?
It doesn't have to be big and fancy. It can be simple and from the heart. For example, your ability to love others is one of your greatest virtues. Or sometimes what's needed most is a friend who listens.
As you think of how much a Divine child, wrapped in rags, inspired the drummer boy to play his song, and has moved the whole world to do their best (knowing there is forgiveness), remember that no offering of yours is small or insignificant when you play your heart out.
pa rum pum pum pum