Christmas Edition - Bottom of the Ninth #88

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Bottom of the 9th - Christmas Message

A Favorite Christmas Carol

by Justen Byler, Director of Youth Sports, Valor Christian High School

As the Holiday Season approaches and 2014 comes to a close, I wanted to relay a story I have shared with a few of you before. I hope the heart of it resonates with each of you this Christmas.  I was watching a press conference of Bill Belichick's (Patriots' Head Coach) around Christmas time last year when he was asked what his favorite Christmas Carol was.  In very Belichick-like fashion, he didn't really answer the question and replied, "I like them all."  Yet, it was not his answer that caught me.  It was the big smile on his face that implied an element of joy in thinking of the various choices of songs. Even the oft-stoic leader of the Patriots appeared uplifted by the thought of singing a song of the season.  It got me thinking about my favorite song during this joyous time, "The Little Drummer Boy." Scholars agree that there is little evidence of a boy banging a drum on the morning of our Savior's birth. However, beyond the very cool melody and baseline of a skillfully crafted tune, what has always struck me about the little boy are his profoundly simple actions. Composed by Katherine Davis, Henry Oronati, and Harry Simeone in 1958,  just listen to the authors' lyrics (without the pa rum pa pum pums):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 comeLittle baby I am a poor boy too 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

This story set to music is an amazing life lesson in many ways.  First, God meets us where we are.  He invites us to Him, no matter our station or life circumstances. He lovingly welcomes us and invites us into relationship with Him. Second, He has given each of us unique gifts and is eternally pleased when we use them for His Glory. To the wise mens' gold, He says "Thank you."  To the sound of the drum, the same. The important things are not what the gifts are,  but rather that you are willing to come while your "drum" is played with the sweet sound of your love for Him.  Yet, the coolest part of this song for me is that it is about a boy. Not a  grown man or woman with clout or stature. Just a boy. A boy with a drum. We can learn a lot from the pure, genuine gestures of faith and leadership that young people like this boy provide us. That is when I begin to think of the awesome Blessing it is to be a part of your sons' and daughters' lives.  1 Timothy 4:12 that states, "Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example of the believers in speech, life, love, faith, and purity." We hope to encourage young athletes through their Valor experience that God believes they can be leaders, even now. As adults, may we all find the appropriate ways to extend the gift of empowering our sons and daughters to lead periodically.  This Christmas season, I hope you will join us in celebrating the beauty of youth. The baby in the manger. The young leaders like Timothy. Youth athletes. Our children. Boys and girls with drums.

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