The three gifts the Magi brought to the Christ Child.

Doing the best with what one is given

Merry Christmas everyone! If you do not observe Christmas, have a wonderful time anyway. This season of the year marks a turning point from darkness to light – the Winter Solstice – a good time to celebrate however few or many blessing we have been given.

A story and a song can illustrate:

The Parable of the Talents

A rich man needed to go on a trip. Just before his departure, he gave five coins (which were called talents in the old days) to one servant, two coins to another, and one coin to a third. Upon his return he asked his servants for an accounting of the coins. Two servants had used the bounty well and returned double the amount of coins – 10 and 4 coins respectively. The third servant, uncertain and fearful, had hid his one coin, and that is all he had. (Matthew 25:14).

This parable could be the origin of the saying “What have you done with what you were given.” If blessing are used well, they turn into bigger blessings. If there is lack of faith, distrust, and fearfulness, blessings are wasted.

The Little Drummer Boy

The Nativity Story tells of the great gifts the Child Christ received from three Kings: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. A Christmas carol tells of another equally significant gift. Here are two of the verses from The Little Drummer Boy.

Little baby
Pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too
Pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give our king
Pa rum pum pum pum,

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

The drummer boy is “a poor boy too,” just like the Baby in the manger who has no crib for a bed. All he has is his drum, which one is left to imagine whether that is his work tool in battle. He did very well with what he was given, though!

He smiled at me … Me and my drum.

Pictured: The Gifts of the Three Kings, gold, frankincense and myrrh. This is a screen shot from a beautiful 18-minute dramatization of the Nativity story, found on the Light of the World website. Watch the movie. Note the subtle expressions of acceptance of circumstances, and determination to rise above by doing what needs to be done.