During dinner one night, my five year old son asked, “Why did the Wise Men give Franklin to Jesus?” I knew he was referring to his favorite character, Franklin the Turtle, but it took me a moment to make the connection.
“Oh, you mean frankincense,” I explained.
“It’s something that smells nice. They also brought gold and myrrh.”
“It’s…also something that smells nice.” He wrinkled his nose, and I could see where this was heading. While my boys would love to receive a turtle for Christmas, I think they were suddenly panicking that they might open their stockings to find something that smelled nice…like a Powder Fresh dryer sheet. The conversation then turned to what a baby was going to do with gold and some aromatic supplies. As a mom, I was guessing that he would probably try to eat them. The incense would be more appealing to Mary, since they had no diaper pails back then. Still, I always find that a Babies R Us® gift card goes a long way for a new mother.
Unfortunately, gift cards did not exist during biblical times. Mary was really missing out on her pick of collapsible strollers and 3-in-1 stage bathtubs. Imagine what Joseph could have done with a Home Depot® card. His carpentry business would have soared!
So what gift do you get for Jesus? What gift is worthy for the King? This was the question pondered by the Little Drummer Boy as he kept the neighborhood awake with his incessant drumming. (Thankfully, they didn’t live near the Little Bagpipe Boy.) The song tells the story of a poor boy who makes his way along with the Wise Men and other admirers to see Jesus. Some of the others have expensive gifts to give, but the boy has nothing to offer but his drum and the gift of music. My music book explains that “the whole carol is accompanied by a gentle drone, the sound of the boy’s drum being played lightly with the fingers.” Apparently the music director had no children. Give a young boy a drum, and the last thing you will hear is gentle droning. In fact, you won’t hear much ever again after he shatters your eardrum. I usually prefer an iTunes gift card.
Whether we realize it or not, we are still struggling with the same dilemma today. What possible gift can we give to Jesus? How do you repay someone who purchased you with his blood? Someone who, knowing what was ahead, gave himself up to torture and death because he loves you?
My kids don’t have a lot of money, so their presents to me are usually used items wrapped awkwardly in blankets or tattered papers. What pleases me is the heart of love behind the gifts. Their faces beam when I praise them for their thoughtfulness and effort.
Here is where the Little Drummer Boy got it right. When did the Baby Jesus smile approvingly at him?
I played my drum for him; (Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
I played my best for him. (Pa- rum- pum- pum- pum)
Then he smiled at me, (Pa- rum -pum- pum- pum) me and my drum.
Jesus does not need material goods, but we all have something of value. Whatever gifts we have to offer, we please him when we give him our absolute best from a heart of love. It’s the only gift card he desires.