There are so many ways to get involved in a hurting world. Which is a good thing, because there is SO. MUCH. HURT. in our world. My heart leans towards people in transition, humans who are suffering, those who are trying to make it out of messes. Immigrants coming to a new land. Refugees fleeing war and manmade disasters. Those who have left home, and in humility come to a new place. They just need a little help along the way.
So, what to do about it? Turn to the wisdom of some classic Christmas lyrics for inspiration… the little musician who gave his all, even though it felt like so little.
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
COME. The first step is to receive an invitation and just plain show up. The invitation is there to join something bigger than ourselves. To be a part of something we can’t fix or solve. To make it personal. To just come.
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
SEE. Come and see the things that are happening in the world around us. Let need, curiosity, pain, and empathy compel us to observe and join the messiness of our world in new ways. To walk alongside a stranger in a strange land. To enter someone’s story.
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
BRING. Come, see, what’s happening. Bring what you have. It may feel small and insignificant, but it is your offering to bring anyways. Sometimes all I have to offer is myself. And in a big, scary, complex world what I have feels so insignificant.
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum
LAY IT DOWN. Let’s lay down our gifts, time, talents, resources as an offering. To show honor. It may feel insignificant, but showing up has value. Taking time for someone shows they’re worth it. Honoring another through a life-changing transition, and laying before them what we have expresses incredible value.
…When we come.
BUT… we all face very real and present excuses, fears, and limitations…
I am a poor boy, too
I’m just one person, with limited talents and resources. Many say… I’m not a teacher like you. I would say… I’m not a lawyer like so-and-so, or an activist, or an influencer. I’m just a ………………. trying to make it in the world (you fill in the blank).
Even our best is so limited.
I have no gift to bring, that’s fit to give our King
I have nothing to give that would be of significance. How can I help? How can my small offerings possibly make a difference?
Start small. If we all scooch over just a little in our row, we could make room for one more person to sit down. What if everyone came, saw the need, and brought their little offerings? That would be a significant number of insignificant offerings. Maybe it would change the world.
What could those insignificant offerings look like?
Just come. Show up for someone you know doing a work you admire in the world.
Just see… just listen. Ask tough questions, hear difficult stories. Take time to process another perspective or another person’s journey.
Just bring yourself, your unique talents, your small offerings.
- Maybe you have moments to read to a child.
- Maybe you can pick up that book you know might challenge your thinking.
- Maybe you can frequent a gas station or an ice cream truck where you can get to know a fellow sojourner just trying to make it in the world.
- Maybe you invite someone new over.
- Maybe you make that donation.
- Maybe you share a perspective on social media that might make others think differently.
- Maybe you start within–identifying a fear, letting go of bitterness, or choosing to forgive.
Who knows how scooching over might look for you. Who knows what gift you bring, or how it might be fit to honor another?
I played my drum for Him, I played my best for Him,
pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum, pum, pum
Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly. Even if it is small and insignificant. Make it your best offering.
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.
Relish in that smile. The smile of helping someone out when they needed it most. Showing up when it was difficult. Offering when you felt like you had nothing. Or maybe you are weary from many offerings that never feel like enough. Pause.
Receive that joy.
Recently, I heard an Arabic version of The Little Drummer Boy. It was my invitation to learn some new Arabic words and practice rudimentary reading skills. What I found was a treasured perspective I wasn’t anticipating.
With the backdrop of endless unrest in Palestine–the homeland of the Messiah and the singer–Vivian Bishara‘s lyrics of worshiping the King but having no worthy gift to bring becomes so real. Regardless of our politics, war, hunger, and poverty are very real aspects of the world the Messiah came into–and the reason for the season today. Emmanuel–God with us–in our messy, complex, torn up places. Let’s come, and see, and lay down our gifts, or our lives, or both. To honor life.
To honor a Life-giving King.
… When we come.