I Had No Gift To Bring...Until I Removed Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum

We do not have a magazine or Pinterest picture-worthy Christmas tree, and I like it that way.  What we have is a tree trimmed with a mixture of colorful antique glass orbs that came to us second hand, pipe cleaner-beaded candy canes, crayon-framed school pictures, heavily-glittered construction paper cut outs, and many, many other ornaments that share memories, and serve as reminders - like these.

Several Christmases ago when the hubby was still in school and we were just a couple months away from welcoming our first son and  literally counting pennies to get by most weeks, the idea of buying Christmas presents for everyone in our families was just not realistic.  This pained me.  I love giving gifts.  Truly it is one of my favorite things to do.  The whole process of really thinking about specific people, what they like, who they are, the parts of their life and heart they've trusted me enough to share with me, and thenfinding the perfect gift for them brings me such joy and excitement.  So much so, that anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not very good at keeping a gift secret.  

Well, not being able to entertain the usual gift-giving process caused one line from a popular Christmas song to play on repeat in my head, "I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum."  For days, that little drummer boy was beating this into my brain.  Even though I know the song, I could not get past that line.  It was like a broken record.  Then, driving home from work one evening the song came on the radio, and I listened, really listened to the lyrics for the first time.  Without the catchy "Pa rum pum pum pum" lines, this song had a brand new meaning to me. 

Come they told me,
A new born King to see,
Our finest gifts we bring,
To lay before the King

So to honor Him
When we come

Little  Baby,
I am a poor boy too,
I HAVE NO GIFT TO BRING,
That's fit to bring a 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

Well, a drummer I am not, but just like that little drummer boy, I decided I could give my time and talents.    For weeks, I spent every night sitting on the living room floor, surrounded by paints and ornaments as I hand-painted Christmas scenes on about 40 ornaments.  For the most part, the gifts were well-received, and more treasured by some than anything I could have bought. Just as the little drummer boy did, I played my best for them, and they smiled.

The following Christmas found us in better shape, and even  living in the first house we bought, but still not with much left over to buy gifts.  So again I painted ornaments.  Wanting this to still be something with thought and meaning behind it, I painted more specific images.  I adorned a large white orb with a pink and silver bike with white banana seat for my dad because the Christmas I got that bike and he spent the entire afternoon teaching me how to ride it is still to this day my favorite childhood memory.  Other ornaments were similar in sentiment, but served the purpose of letting the person know how special they are to my life. Again, I played my best for them, and they smiled.

The two ornaments pictured are from the first year, and the only ones I did not give away, because to me they were no good.  My husband asked me to keep them, for him.  I'm so glad I did.  Without knowing, he gave me a gift that I unwrap every year. Each year when we pull out the decorations and I carefully peel back tissue paper from the glass goodies, eager to see which one it is, and when I see these I smile and tear up a bit.  These remind me of a time when money was tight, but God always smiled upon us and provided our needs.  A time when  I thought I had no gifts to bring, so I gave my heart. I gave my best.  

I still love to find the perfect gift for people, but even now when I have something to give, the greatest thing it seems I can offer is my time, my talents and my best. And that's truly what He wants us to give.  Pa rum pum pum pum.