this little light of mine

The moon is full in the sky, and the stars shine once again down on the earth. The wind stirs the leaves slightly in its breeze, rocking them to sleep. In a sweet little boy’s bedroom, his mama tucks in him, kisses his forehead, and asks, “What song do you want me to sing tonight, Bub?”

“‘This Little Light of Mine’,” he responds with a yawn.

“Alright,” she says. She knew this was the answer before she even asked.

The sweet little boy closes his big blue eyes, resting himself for a big day at school tomorrow, and his mama sings. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…. hide it under a bush, oh no!… won’t let anyone blow it out!… I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine.”

So simple, those words.


As a 4-year-old myself, I remember singing those words, using my tiny fingers to show my light, waving it proudly in front of me, so resolute in my declaration. Now, just a few years later, my son asks for that song more often than any other. And I often sing it, words rolling over my lips while my thoughts drift to all the many things I need to be doing instead, hand on the door knob, ready to move on to the next necessary task.

Tonight, though, was different.

Tonight, I thought about those words, thinking about my light. Thinking about how bright it really is, or how dull it becomes. Mostly thinking about what I poor job I’ve done of allowing it to be hidden under a bush or blown out at times. “Hide it under a bush….” Oh no. I have. I am guilty. I have hidden it. Why? Sometimes I’m afraid of the shine. Sometimes I’m afraid that it might scare away those who would rather remain in places where the light isn’t so bright. Sometimes, I just forget that I am called to be the light because the World blocks my view. Sometimes, if I’m honest, being a dim-lighted Christian is just easier. It’s just so much more simple. It requires less energy.

“Won’t let Satan blow it out!” Oh man. Guilty there too. Though he doesn’t stomp in, red eyes glowing and pitchfork in hand like I thought he would when my 4-year-old self sang it. Oh, no. Now I’m onto him. He comes in many forms. An ugly remark from a coworker. An inconvenience. A slight annoyance. A deadline I can’t meet. An expectation too unrealistic. A rude behavior from a person in the checkout line. A disappointment. A stressful situation. He’s there. Lurking in the shadow. Lips shaped in an O, breathing hot air my way, trying ever so slightly to distinguish my light. Sometimes, I protect it, keeping him away from it. Sometimes, his hot breath suffocates me so that the light is too much, and I just let him blow it out. Other times, however, I may as well have snuffed it myself without his help at all.

Sigh. It’s hard being a light sometimes. I’ll admit, I am not the light by which anyone should use to guide themselves through life. However, that light you do see even in its dimmest time is not even my light at all. It’s the light reflected off of me from The Light. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” (John 8:12)

Whew. That’s a relief. This little light of mine is not mine at all, but His. I am only a mirror of His light, not the light. This little light of mine is so because I reflect what is true and pure, when I’m not allowing it to be extinguished, that is.

So despite my dimmest times or my failures to protect it, at least I get to reflect His light, the greatest light in this sometimes very dark world. And hopefully that reflection shines the way for someone else’s darkness. For even a little light is welcome there.


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