Countdown to Christmas: Day 24. "Little Drummer Boy"

Little Drummer Boy 

Then, He smiled at me (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)
Me and my drum

Katherine Kennicott Davis took some artistic liberties when she wrote this one in 1941. Everybody knows the ox and the lamb can’t keep time to save their lives. Horses? Maybe. But oxen and sheep? No way.

And developmental experts tell us babies don’t have a smile reflex until they’re six to eight weeks old. The idea of an hours-old baby intentionally smiling at the drummer, let alone the drum, is a reach.

That said, I’m a sucker for a smiling baby. A baby’s smile is kryptonite to the hardened cynic; it melts the hardened heart. We can all close our eyes and picture a smiling baby. A smiling God, however, is another story.

For years, I was stuck with a caricature of God in my mind. I knew God was capable of love; it just never showed on His face. God was an elderly, white-male in my childhood imagination. He had a furrowed brow and permanent scowl. Somewhere, somebody was screwing up. A detached and disappointed God was going to have to strike someone down, roll up God’s heavenly sleeves and clean the whole mess up.

Let me clear: there are obviously behaviors and systems that trigger a just God’s rage. As they should. That said, I don’t believe furious is God’s default demeanor. I think God smiles, a lot. Hard as it may be to believe, I’m convinced God smiles at you, even now.

We see God smile in the Advent story. He smiles at Mary; he is pleased in who she is and how she’s living.

Luke 1:28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Thirty-some years later, we see God the Father smiling again, when Jesus is baptized.

Matthew 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

And again when Christ reveals His glory to a small circle of close friends

Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

It’s easy to say “Of course God smiles at Mary, she’s the mother of Christ. And yes, He’s going to smile at Jesus. Jesus is never wrong. But I’m not Mary and I’m not Jesus.”

Fair enough. But you are somebody God created and deeply loves. When He designed you, He did so with intentionality, creativity and purpose. It doesn’t mean you’re hitting all our marks or that God isn’t going to ask you to tweak or overhaul certain parts of your life.  It simply means you bring God joy.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Yes, He smiles at you. 


Craig Custance