Do you know the familiar story of the Little Drummer Boy who played his drum for the baby Jesus? What about the even older story about a pair of shepherds who played their flute and drum before the Christ child.
While the Bible tells us that the shepherds glorified and praised God for all they had seen regarding the birth of Christ, there is no specific reference to musical instruments in any of the Gospel accounts of this event. So how did the idea of shepherds playing the drum and flute come into being?
Perhaps the answer is best revealed in the Old Testament book of Psalms, where worshipers praise the Lord with the trumpet, stringed instruments, harp, tambourine, flute, and cymbals. The legend of shepherds playing their flute and drum echoed the actions of worshippers throughout the ages who offered their worship through music, one of our most personal human expressions.
As you hear the sounds of the Christmas season, take a moment and reflect on what gift you bring today to the Christ Child. In the words of poet Christina Rossetti, “What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a wise man, I would do my part, yet what can I give him? Give my heart.”