A Christmas Carol for the CoderOn October 19, 2019 by Amy BurginReading Time: 3 minutes
I returned to work after over thirteen years as a stay-at-home mother and wife. It’s been a tough transition, but I enjoy my new job. It even comes with a glamorous title – I’m a full-stack developer in the making at a top tier research institute working on ground data systems for NASA missions. In particular, we currently have a space probe named Juno orbiting Jupiter as I write this. I play a tee-tiny role in that. We’re also working on a new mission, The Europa Clipper, scheduled to launch in several years to make its journey to Jupiter and gather information about its moon. I get to play a larger, but still very small role, on this mission.
It sounds glamorous and it is cool, but most days I’m simply sitting in my private office in front of two computer screens. I write commands on my keyboard that show up on the left monitor, push a button to process those commands and then look at the right monitor to see if I wrote the correct commands. A string of days went by when I heard a voice say, “Look at all the time you’re wasting here! You should be doing something for the Kingdom of God! Just look at yourself – forty hours each week spent here! You should have tried to get a job with your church and been about the business of God.” I worried I messed up.
My BFF is in the same stage of life as I am and she’s pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse. She wants to work as a nurse in the mission field. I am really proud of her. The same voice shows me a picture of her beautiful face, “You should’ve chosen something more noble, like she did.” Oh dear, now I start to recognize this voice as one I don’t follow. (See my post, Comparison Can’t Compete).
Maybe I’m not supposed to be working in this field, but it feels right in a lot of ways. We didn’t save for college and always planned for me to return to work to pay for tuition. It’s time. I prayed in advance, felt led to apply for this particular job and received an offer almost immediately. Maybe I’m not where I’m supposed to be, but maybe I am.
I heard another voice, the voice of Colossians 3:23 (NIV), “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” This voice speaks personally, kindly, gently, “Amy – don’t worry, you’re okay. It is all for me.”
It’s mid-October, the season when my heart starts to long for and sing the Great Christmas Carols. The Little Drummer Boy resonates in my mind over and over and over again as I sit in my office.
I am no drummer. I have no drum. But 40 hours a week, I have a keyboard and I code my best for Him. I sense and know His nod and smile.
I tell my family in a group chat as I sit at that private desk. My husband, who works in the same field chats back with the perfect rhyme,
I am the coder boy
Ca clicky click click
I code my bits for him
Ca clicky click click
My daughter sends three heart emojis. I nod and smile with Christ.
You may not know if you’re in the right place, choosing the correct major, the correct school, the correct job, the correct house, the correct car, the correct whatever, but if you’re doing it for Christ, you can trust it is right.
The Little Drummer Boy Lyrics
Written by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
So to honor him, pa rum pum pum pum
When we come
Little baby, pa rum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum
pa rum pum pum pum , pa rum pum pum pum
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum
On my drum?
Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
pa rum pum pum pum, pa rum pum pum pum
Then he smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum