If there's one Christmas tradition I get sick of every year, it's the telling and re-telling and re-re-re-re-telling of A Christmas Carol. It's a great story, yep, and if there's a better explanation of what conversion is and how it works, I don't know it. But seriously, enough. At this time of year, the Classic Radio station on sirius starts playing old-timey CHRISTMAS radio shows, like Jack Benny and Suspense, and whatnot. Every show does a version of A Christmas Carol.
And if there's a song that I re-start to loathe anew each year, it's the Little Drummer Boy. If they just didn't say "pa-rum=pa-pum-pum" so darn many times!!! But I thought, this year, about what a great message the song has for parish ministry leaders.
I love how this kid (he's a kid, right? Or is he just little? I always assumed a kid...) comes upon the scene and wants to help, wants to serve, but the only gift he has is this gift of drumming. It's a wholly unhelpful gift to a newborn baby and his homeless mother in a barn. But she doesn't say "we have all the drummers we need, but if you'll fill out this form we'll get in touch with you. Maybe during Lent?" or "we don't use drummers here. How do you feel about chaperoning the Altar Server trip to Wacky Water World?" She says "cool. Drum on, drummer!"
(Or something like that.)
Last night at our church, in response to an invitation in the bulletin, over 20 people showed up to decorate for Christmas. The person in charge was super stressed out. People kept approaching her and saying "what can I do?" and she would say "there's really nothing." I tried to help, by giving people jobs and asking other people to help find jobs for people. It could have gone much better, if the people who invited help were ready to accept that help. I heard a Youth Ministry trainer say once that he bristles when he hears ministers say "we don't have enough help!" He says what we should be saying is "we have more volunteers than we know what to do with!!"
Last year at about this time, I think, I decided to "give and let give" and never to refuse someone's offer of help. It was a new skill to develop, this welcoming help, but it has been great.
Drum on, drummer.