The Little Drummer Boy in Foster Care

All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus

Little Drummer Boy

Do you have a favorite Christmas song? The other day when I was chauffeuring my girls to school I told them to name their top three favorite Christmas songs. Their top pick: “The Chipmunk Song!” [Clearly my kids need to work on their fine arts.] My top pick is Little Drummer Boy (followed by O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Hark the Herald Angels). There’s been many renditions of Little Drummer Boy. TobyMac crushed it and Justin Bieber butchered it.

I have no gift to bring, that’s fit to give our King.That’s me. By the grace of God I do this thing called Parenting and Foster Care. There are many, many days that I feel I have no gift fit to give the King. All I’ve got is prayer, trust, and obedience.

This song makes me remember Jesus feeding of the five thousand. The twelve disciples came to him and said there was not enough food to feed the crowd. Instead of agreeing and sending the crowd away, he turned back to his Merry Men and said, “You give them something to eat.” Can you imagine being those twelve disciples? Jesus basically turned around and told his men to cook a meal for 5,000+ people. When we had six kids in the house I about freaked out the first day I had to come home from work and make a dinner for eight people! The disciples turned around and said, “We have only five loves of bread and two fish” (Luke 9:13). And that’s the Little Drummer Boy too. He says, “I have no gift to bring that’s fit for the King.” Then Jesus says to them, “Hit me with your best shot” (or maybe Pat Benatar sang that…). The disciples and the Drummer Boy turned around and gave back to Jesus the meager amount that they had. They gave it back to Jesus with hope in their eyes and trust that He would do immeasurably more than all they could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). The Drummer Boy played his drum and he did the best he could at it.

I played my drum for Him. I played my best for Him. In foster care I often feel less than adequate at providing care to children from places I will never, ever experience. The things that these children have experienced in their short lives is beyond my comprehension. I will never be able to wrap my head around the horrifying circumstances our current placements came from. All I’ve got is my drum and doing the best that I can. When my favorite Christmas song gets to this line, “He smiled at me, me and my drum,” I can’t help but tear up. The Drummer Boy gave his best- which was not much- and Christ smiled back at him! I can only do my best for Him in these kids’ lives and when Jesus smiles back at me, then I’ve received all the reward I need. 

From Jesus, Continued… by J.D. Greear:

God commissioned only one Messiah, and it’s not us. He calls us to be servants, not fellow-saviors; stewards, not suppliers. He wants us not to be guilt-driven, but gift-driven; not only looking outward at the mission need, but inward at his empowering presence. The question is not just, “How much needs to be done?” but “What specifically has he empowered me to do?” (pg. 81)

The Drummer Boy did not have much but he was empowered with the ability to drum. He beat his drum to the best of his ability. I am not the Messiah to these children in foster care. I do not do foster care out of guilt or a driving desire to “give back.” If anyone does foster care with a guilt-ridden conscience or the idea that you will save children, then you will be sorely disappointed and significantly drained.


We have many stocking hung by the fire this year!

Our Finest gifts we bring, to lay before the King. You are not alone. I see you: the one struggling with knowing if you are doing enough or giving enough or wondering if any of it is worthwhile. As I type this, I am a zombie with a toddler sitting on my lap attempting to trash my computer. It’s early morning because for three weeks he has not slept through the night, because foster care is hard. I have the biggest coffee mug sitting next to me and I’m thinking, “What am I doing?” God sees you and me. He sees all your doings. We do not need to do more or bigger to make him happy.  We only need to bring our best. We each have a different “finest gift”– some bring rich gifts like frankincense, gold and myrrh, some bring one coin, and some play their drum.

Friends, do your best, don’t do more. You may feel inadequate to do anything of worth, but remember the Drummer Boy:

I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give the King. Shall I play for you on my drum? I played my drum for Him, I played my best for him. Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.

Beat that drum.  Leah

2 comments on “The Little Drummer Boy in Foster Care

  1. I love this song too, and I love how you compared it to foster care. So agree with you & love your words and thoughts! We just do the best we can. Pray like crazy. Love and ask forgiveness every day. Working through the realness of life’s messes and blessings, with joy and pain. And He – Jesus our Messiah – takes it and makes it all worth it. Doing what we cannot do & healing wounds along the way. I love your realness Leah. Love your perspective in this Christmas right now, where you’re at and is probably a super hard season for you. Especially with sleep issues on top of it all. You’re doing great, friend & fellow foster mama. You’re doing your best for Him. Love & hugs –

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