“This Little Light of Mine”

“This Little Light of Mine” has been sung in Sunday school classes for almost 100 years. It was written by Harry Dixon Loes in the 1920s, and was later adapted by Zilphia Horton, along with other activists in connection with the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on Matthew 5:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heaven.” The parallel passage in Luke 11:33 says: “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” The song and motions go like this:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine – let it shine all the time, let it shine, oh yeah. (hold up your finger (candle) and light it shine!)

Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m going to let it shine – let it shine all the time, let it shine, oh yeah. (Cover finger (candle) with one hand – uncovering quickly)

Won’t let Satan (blow) it out, no, I’m gonna let it shine. Won’t let Satan (blow) it out, I’m gonna let it shine. Won’t let Satan (blow) it out, I’m gonna let it shine – let it shine all the time, let it shine, oh yeah. (Pretend you’re blowing out a candle.)

All around the neighborhood, I’m gonna let it shine. All around the neighborhood, I’m going to let it shine. All around the neighborhood, I’m gonna let it shine – let it shine all the time, let it shine, oh yeah. (Swing your arm high around your head with your ‘candle’ up)

As adults – are you letting your light shine? Do your friends, co-workers, or neighbors know that you’re a Christian? If not – why not? One of the haunting aspects of this children’s song is the phrase “let it shine all the time, let it shine, oh yeah,” because we often pick and choose when we let our lights shine. When we’re around other Christians, man, our lights are BRIGHT! But, when you’re at school or work – how would you describe your flame? Is it a flicker or a spotlight? Are you guilty of hiding your light when it gets in the way? Do you cover it up when you want to “fit in with the crowd?” The devil is always there walking, about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8) Christians – he’s working hard to dim your light. He doesn’t have to worry about non-Christians because he’s already got them! He’s doing whatever it takes to “blow out your light.” We must be sober and vigilant. We must “submit ourselves therefore to God; Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) God is on our side!

May your “little light” shine all the time! God Bless, Courtney

2 thoughts on ““This Little Light of Mine”

  1. One of Zoey’s favorites!

  2. This song has endured for years–and it encourages all of us to “Let it shine”. I like!

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