Mary Nodded: How to Play Your Drum for Him

Often, Middlest Boy says something that pushes my eyes wide open and downright drops my jaw. Moments like these come like an electrified zap. This time the bolt zapped with laughter and lingered with wonder. Oh, the delight of God, that my Middlest would be a mouthpiece for an advent awakening 37 years in the making. Yes, I’m slow like that.

These are words I texted to my parents just after I caught my breath:

Was just reading Samuel’s favorite “Drummer Boy” to him while he eats his “peanut and jelly”  We get to the last couple pages. I say, “Where is the baby?” He says, “Right dere! THAT is Baby Jesus!”.  I ask, “Where is his mama?” He replies and points to her, “That is his mama.” Then I ask, “Samuel, what is Jesus’ mama’s name? What is she called?”  Without a nanosecond of hesitation he says, “Mary Nodded”. Then he begins to sing as only a toddler can, “Mary nodded, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum”. 


Laugh. Laugh with joy and delight. We sure did. It was innocent, beautiful, comical, and he was perfectly right—though I doubt he knew it.

Mary. Nodded. 

Not the drifting-off-into-sleep kind of nod. I think I can safely surmise that the song’s lyricist did not intend this definition.

Most likely the word choice was to indicate a gesture of approval as the little boy plays the drum and delights the Christ child.


Mary nodded.

She nodded.

Jesus, I want to nod more.

What was she doing, that barely woman, when God sent Gabriel to Nazareth? On this side of the veil we can only surmise. With certainty I’ll offer the conjecture that her mind was not on the way her waistline would morph in the coming months as God made flesh would grow in her womb. She was likely busy at a chore. A daily task. 


And it happens. Mary’s mundane is mysteriously eclipsed by miracle.

But doesn’t God so often speak BIG into our moments of little? He so BIG came to us so conspicuously little.

Moments of having little? Moments of feeling little? Moments of being little? That’s where the BIG of God happens.

Angel Gabriel greets her.

A tsunami of news—the kind of words that shake a person from the epicenter of the soul— washes over Jesus’ mama-to-be in a wave that is all swirling Spirit. And she doesn’t shake her head in belief undone. Her head never shakes in doubt. Did her chin drop in the presence of God’s messenger, Gabriel? Did she nod?

She asks a question of the herald. Is the question a doubt? No. It’s a question uttered from a barely woman who most likely looks more child than mama.

How? Mary asks with the forthrightness that reminds she still has a foot firmly in her youth.

And Gabriel’s answer? 

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35

And here’s where my Middlest was so unknowingly correct.

Are you ready?

Here it comes.

“ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.”

If THAT is not an audible nod, then I’m at a loss to articulate what is.

This was a gesture of submission—a bow made with an abundance of belief, from a heart of trust.

A heart that didn’t have all the answers because there are things we just can’t know. And don’t need to know. Don’t need to know because our desire to know the “how?” pales, and falls away because we can know the WHO. The I AM. The God With Us. The Lion that came as a Lamb. The God Made Flesh, Jesus, born of Mary. Mary who nodded.

Lord, still me to see.

You, God, love so BIG in all my little.

When you call, bend me to bow.

As you speak, kneel me, drop me down.

Where I would shake my head in doubt and disbelief, shape my posture to give thanks.

To obey.

To nod and say, “I am your servant.” Amen.

It’s advent, dear one.

JESUS is coming. Coming indeed.

Nod in the joy and delight of a heart saved by and submitted to Him.

Let Him do BIG with your little. With your tired. With your “to do’s”. With your very real sorrows and with your fragile hopes.

And by all means, play your best for Him on the drum He gives you, precious child.

He’ll smile.




2 thoughts on “Mary Nodded: How to Play Your Drum for Him

  1. Darling Carrie, this is truly beautiful. And, coming full circle, the little one who used to stand by and watch me prepare dinner for my babies as she regaled with with all the latest middle school happenings, has become my teacher. Thank you.

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