Let it Shine

By: Nancy Wade

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, shine, shine
Let it shine!

I was trudging through the snow in the grocery store parking lot this week when a bumper sticker stopped me in my tracks. Three single-syllable words: Let it Shine

I stopped to take it in. And of course, the lyrics of this much-loved African American spiritual came immediately to mind. It’s such a catchy little tune, isn’t it? I was happy that those three words conjured up this song for me, grateful that my time spent in church as a child, and later as a teen interested in the Civil Rights movement, exposed me to this inspirational tune.

But what should these words mean during these cold Winter days when recently, the temperatures barely make it out of single digits and we are more than sick of cold weather? To me, the song reminds us that even in the depth of Winter, hope makes us wish for warmth, hope for sunnier days, and look forward to the feeling of sun on our skin.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent on the Christian calendar and we remember how Christ spent time with his disciples, knowing that his end was near. At the beginning of Lent, days are bleak, time is ponderous, and it seems like we are a long way away from the light.

And yet the days will pass, for some more quickly than for others, and as we contemplate the meaning inherent in the Easter story, we will first experience sorrow and then, an increasing sense of hope and anticipation. Eventually, the sun will shine more brightly and Spring flowers – hyacinths, daffodils, and crocuses – will lift their small faces to the sun’s warmth. The air will no longer be tinged with cold, but with the sweet smell of Spring.

But first, we will live the Easter story. We will walk with Christ through his last days. We will contemplate Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey and we will finally arrive at Easter Sunday, to celebrate the resurrection, the promise of hope and light and joy. The heaviness of winter will dissipate, to be replaced with luminous light, tendrils of new green grass, and a promising new season of joy.
Let it shine, indeed.

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