Lyrically Inspired – Little Drummer Boy

December is one of my two favorite months of the year.  The other is October. . . but I digress.

I love Christmas music.  I mean I would listen to it all year if people weren’t so prone to being cranky about it.  But December means all restrictions are off and I can blast Christmas music to my heart’s content!

So I thought I’d take a few minutes to share with you some of my most favorite songs as well as the reasons why.  Lyrics can be every bit as thought-provoking as a good book, a powerful sermon, or a deep philosophical discussion.

This first song wasn’t a favorite when I was younger.  Frankly, I found it annoying for a time.  Somewhere during middle school I was able to get past the “nonsense lyrics” and really hear what was being said and my opinion was radically changed.  Let me show you what I mean –

I have no gift to bring
That’s fit to give our king
Shall I play for you
On my drum
Mary nodded
The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for him
I played my best for him
Then he smiled at me
Me and my drum
I took out the “pa rum pum pum pum” lyrics because this is the phrase that first captured my attention and I wanted you to see the words clearly.
All the drummer boy had to offer was his ability to play.  When he did so, the infant smiled at him.  As simple as that – the drummer gave the very best that he had and it pleased the Messiah.
There is a sad tendency in some churches to allow for shoddy musicianship in services because the thinking is “We’re doing it for Jesus so it’s the thought that counts.”  I doubt most churches would feel that way about the sermon.  We expect the Pastor to put in time preparing the sermon.  Reading scripture, praying, consulting the original language when needed . . . none of us would be happy with a pastor who got into the pulpit on Sunday morning and said, “I haven’t really prepared anything.  I’m just gonna kinda wing it today.”
But church musicians?  People have actually been known to get angry that they rehearse; that they come to the Sunday morning service well-prepared.  But this song gets it – “I played my best for him”.
Wouldn’t be a bad epitaph, now that I think about it – She played her best for him.

Fear Not – The Story Behind the Song

Christmas is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday.  I think I’ve even started to like it more than my own birthday!  I love the decorations, the music, the gift-buying, the television specials . . . I love the whole crazy, busy, chaotic experience!

But I do have one small frustration – Christmas Eve Services.  I didn’t grow up going to them even though I was a Pastor’s kid.  Dad felt that Christmas Eve was for family so he never held one and if we were ever members of a church that held them, we never went.  For much of my married life, we’ve been in churches that did, indeed, ask members to come out on Christmas Eve for a service.  I’m still not a big fan of such things but I think a large part of it is due to the fact that every Christmas Eve service I’ve ever been in feels like a funeral.  But we’re celebrating a birth, right?!

I guess you could say that “Fear Not” is the type of music I’d program into a Christmas Eve service if I was ever given free reign!  A birth – especially the birth of the Messiah! – is a happy occasion, a reason to celebrate.  No long faces or somber expressions at a baby shower!  The story of the cross started in that little stable in Bethlehem, true.  But I believe that all of heaven was excited that the process had begun and that God’s relationship with man was about to radically change forever.

”Fear not, I bring to you great
A message of hope to every
Man and woman girl and boy.
For unto you this day,
Over in King David’s town,
A Savior, Christ the Lord, is born
Heaven’s gift of love come down.”

Luke 2:10-11

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good new of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

 

Only In You – The Story Behind the Song

I would like to tell you that recurring themes show up in my songs because I’m really good at focusing on concepts until I perfect them.  I would LIKE to tell you that but I’d rather be honest.  The existence of recurring themes in my songs is due to the simple fact that I can be a little hard-headed when it comes to learning lessons.

“Only in You” is a reminder that joy comes from exactly one source – my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  Period.  When that relationship is being nurtured, inner joy is palpable.  When I am setting aside time to be with my Abba my sense of purpose is well-defined and the next step is crystal clear.  It’s when I start worrying about what others think, when I allow my focus to be misdirected, that I find myself struggling.  I start to doubt my calling and purpose.  I start to second guess what I’m supposed to do next.

So this song draws my focus back to the ONLY source of joy and the only being able to confirm my sense of purpose.  It’s that simple and that difficult.

I find my greatest sense of worth
In the presence of my King on bended knee.

You will make known to me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  ~Psalm 16:11

Welcome Home – The Story Behind the Song

My sisters and I are all Michigan “born and raised” but we have all ventured to live in other states at various points in our adult lives.  Currently, hubby and I are in North Central Iowa while the middle sister, Becki, and her two boys are in Richmond,VA (my parents live with her as well) and the baby sister, Andrea, lives in San Antonio, TX with her hubby and their three kids.  Becki also lived in the Dallas, TX area for a while and it was during that time that God used her to inspire a song.

This was in the days before Skype or FaceTime or social networking of any kind.  We relied on emails, “snail mail”, and phone calls.  During one of our weekly (most of the time) phone calls, we discovered that, in a spiritual sense, we were walking down similar paths.  Both of us were learning about our true identity as children of God.  There were a number of times when one of us would talk about a realization or a new understanding and the other person would respond with “Oh my gosh, me too!”

At the end of one such conversation, Becki told me she was going to email me a poem she had recently written, sort of a way for her to capture the lesson in a concrete way for when she needed reminding down the road.  I opened the email and read the poem.  Before I was done, there was a melody line running repeatedly through my head connected to a specific line she had written.  So I emailed her back and begged her to let me turn the lyrics into a song.  With a couple of small tweaks – mostly for rhyme and rhythm – “Welcome Home” was born.  For reasons I won’t go into here, the parable of the Prodigal Son is a family favorite and this song captures that story from the father’s perspective – the idea of a loving father waiting and watching for his child to return home.  No judgment, no conditions; just unbridled love, restoration and healing.

The concept of being God’s cherished daughter has been a powerful one in my life.  So much so that I bear a tattoo that says “Daughter of God” in Hebrew.  The chorus of this song has been a balm in the rough spots of life and the fact that my sister and I had both had a hand in “birthing” this one is special to me.

“Welcome home, my child, I’ve been waiting
I’ve been watching and I love you
Let me fix your broken pieces.
Won’t you let me carry you?
My child, you’ve been gone away so long.
Welcome home.”

John 1:12-13

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Luke 15:22-24

But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet: and bring the fattened calf kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”  And they began to celebrate.