Thursday, December 29, 2011

Then He Smiled at Me…

by Suzie Johnson
A dark, hushed landscape lit only by the stars; majestic visitors from afar bringing gifts; a small boy invited to come along and pay honor to the baby king. He longs to go, longs to join in and be a part of the hushed reverence. But he is merely a poor boy with nothing to give. How can he possibly go?

And yet he is drawn.
When he arrives at the stable, where glorious gifts are presented to the baby king, he humbly offers the only thing he has – his gift of music. He plays his drum. He puts his whole heart and soul into it. He gives it his all.

And the baby smiles at him.
Can you imagine how that little boy felt, aching to offer something of worth? He felt himself unworthy, and yet he gave his best. And he was smiled upon.

When I was a child, The Little Drummer Boy was my favorite Christmas song. I could never get enough of it. I played it on my record player over and over until I’m sure my parents were sick of it. But I never grew tired of hearing it. I still don’t. There are Christmas songs I get tired of now, but never this one.

The final lines of the song…

I played my best for Him...

Followed by a beat of silence, and...

Then He smiled at me...

When I was little, listening repeatedly, those last final lines with that moment of silence in between always brought a tear to my eye.

The thought of doing something so heartfelt that the sweet baby Jesus would smile at me, filled me with wonder and awe.

As an adult, it still brings a tear to my eye – but for an entirely different reason.

Then He smiled at me...

Oh, I’m still filled with wonder and awe at the thought of Jesus smiling at me. But at the same time, I’m reminded that I don't spend nearly as much time thinking of Jesus smiling at me as I did when I was a child.

I played my best for Him...

Do I do my best for Him? Do I spend too much time thinking of what I want to do instead of what He wants me to do? Am I writing for me, or for Him? Do I think of Him with every choice I make? Do I do my very best ever time?

Too often, I let myself get caught up in the trap of everyday chaos and focus more on the things I have to do, rather than contemplating how I'm going to do them. By that, I don't mean, "Oh how am I ever going to get all of this done today?" Instead, I mean the attitude with which I do them. I want to have the same from-the-heart attitude as the little drummer boy. I want to be filled with child-like awe and a desire to do my best for Him. Whatever I’m doing, every time.

Can you picture Jesus smiling down at you because whatever you did, you did it for Him?

For this coming year, my goal will be to work on this attitude. To help motivate me, I'm going to put little notes on my computer at work and home, on my mirror and refrigerator door. I think I should also put one on the television remote control. (That involves another goal for the coming year...)

What will it say?

Then He smiled at me...

Suzie Johnson has won several awards for her inspirational novels (writing as Susan Diane Johnson), including the Maggie, Lone Star, Heart of the West, and Beacon awards, as well as finaling in the Touched by Love, Finally A Bride, Linda Howard Award for Excellence, and Virginia's Fool For Love contests. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is a cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man who makes her proud every day, she lives with her husband and naughty little cat on an island in the Pacific Northwest. And although the beaches are rocky instead of sandy, lined with Madronas and Evergreens instead of Palm trees, and the surf is much too cold for wading, it is still the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction.

Star picture courtesy of


  1. A beautiful post Suzie. You know, I think I went all season without hearing this one. I grew up with the Mitch Miller Christmas album and The Little Drummer Boy was on there and I can completely understand the awe that song brought you.

    there are definitely days when I know I am not doing my best for him or for anyone else, including my self. In things I'm really interested in - of course, but boring tasks? May He help us all this way.
    Thanks Suzie~
    (but I hope to have little girl Suzie photos next year from you. Do you have any?)

  2. Oh my, Suzie, you give so much in your simple words. (I was going to burst in here and say it's beautiful, but Deb took that line.)

    I can tell you exactly when I first heard The Little Drummer Boy... I was in Grade 7. We lived on the farm outside Thunder Bay and were bussed to a country school on a hill where one level opened to the ground, and basement windows on the other side let in more light than I've even seen in a lower level, still, to this day.

    Our teacher said we were to start practising for the Christmas concert and she sang The Little Drummer Boy. The song filled me with joy. I don't know why, but it reached deep down and touched me like no other song before. The only thing I can compare it to is the way I feel now as an adult when I sing Amazing Grace or How Great Thou Art

    As I read your post though, I began to wonder if it wasn't the sound effects of the song that touched me, but the words between the effects. Yes, indeed...
    I played my best for Him...
    Then He smiled at me...

    What a reassurance.


  3. I love it that the song doesn't say I played THE best for him, but I played MY best. That's all he asks.

    I so want the offering of my mind and heart that is my writing to be the absolute best I can make it, even if it isn't the best in the world.

    Great post, Suzie. Way to get us refocused on what counts as we face down the new year.

  4. Sorry ladies. I'm at work today so I'll be slow at answering.

    Thank you, Deb. I think we had that Mitch Miller album, too. I think my dad had (still has!) Every record album made during the 40s through the mid 60s.

    Yes, I need His help with my attitude while doing those boring tasks, too. Hmm. I wonder how to have that attitude while washing dishes? I need to think on this a while.

    Little girl pics - Deb, I don't have my scanner set up with my new computer. I'll try to get it hooked up by next year, just for you. ;-)

  5. Thank you, Anita. I agree, it is such a reassurance. I believe the unique sound effects of the song are what draws the listener in. I hope it's the words and meaning that touch them.

    I heard this silly woman on the radio say it was one of the dumbest songs because drums don't go "pa rum pa pum pum." Clearly, she wasn't listening to the words.

  6. Oh, Anita, I almost forgot! Hugs back at ya! ;-)

  7. Thank you, Lisa! I like "my best" vs "the best" as well. So much of our culture is to be the best rather than to do your best. I tend to forget that myself, sometimes. But Lisa, your writing is very reflective of who you are and Who you belong to. There is no question there. Your best shines through. :-)

  8. I like that story/song too. I've incorporated it into a Christmas play and a Christmas dance before.

  9. Bravo, Suzie! What a beautiful, thought provoking post. I'm making a note right now to stick on my computer...


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