This Little Light of Mine
by Ann Higginbottom
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The morning air was soft and quiet. I tiptoed through the sleeping house, determined to make it outside without waking anyone. As I made my way to the door, I peeked out the window. It was early enough to be mistaken for nighttime—the moon was covered by a layer of clouds, blocking any remnants of light. It was a dark, silent morning.
Once downstairs, I quietly made the stroll towards the beach. There was not a soul around and only the accompaniment of lingering crickets in the darkness. Though it was not yet in sight, I could hear the bellowing roll of the ocean. It was consistent, powerful, and serene—a song that played through my soul like the beating of my heart. My feet met the sand, and with a flick of each foot, I left my flipflops behind as I continued towards the water. Above me, the early morning sky fell like a midnight blue blanket. Yet even in such darkness, my heart raced with excitement. I knew what was bound to come.
I found a spot to sit near the surf—far enough to avoid getting wet but close enough to catch the mist. I waited and waited. Soon a soft hue of pink caught my eye. It was subtle but brilliant. Slowly, shades of orange, pink, and red began to cut through the darkness. Faster than an instant, the darkness scattered. Daylight was coming, and darkness had nowhere to hide. A bright orange sliver appeared on the horizon—blinding yet captivating. If I blinked, I would miss it. The morning light began to rise higher and faster with each passing moment. As it climbed out of the water and into the sky, I was struck by its warmth. A new day began with a spectacular darkness-defying sunrise.
I wasn’t your typical adolescent. Each summer my family would spend time at our favorite beach retreat off the coast of Florida. Instead of sleeping in late, I set my alarm clock to go off before anyone else was awake. I spent many, many mornings watching the sunrise over the ocean—sometimes from my sandy seat on the beach and other times from the balcony with my journal in hand. Those years were formative for me. I came to know the Lord in the earliest hours of the day, before the sun was even up. I became fascinated by the powerful simplicity of light. It shattered darkness—every time. Even the darkest clouds and formidable storms scattered helplessly before the sun’s coming light. It struck me—light is victorious, every single time.
The Gospel of John begins with an incredible testimony to the power of light—specifically, the Light of the world, Jesus. Even in the bleakest, darkest hour on the hill of Calvary, darkness could not overcome the Light. As a believer, I know this truth—because of Christ, our greatest darkness of sin has been conquered. But do I live as one who knows that truth? I am convicted that I do not regularly live as one who knows that darkness has been defeated once and for all. As with many other things, I am forced to face these questions and my own doubts as I struggle to explain this world to my baby boy.
Will’s new favorite song is This Little Light of Mine. He was fascinated by the glow of a flashlight last week, and I playfully began to teach him the song. “Hide it under a bushel, NO! I’m gonna let it shine!” He gives a big belly laugh and claps his hands for more. If only there were video footage of the antics within our home. We perform quite the floorshow with this beloved tune, lights flickering on and off. It is such a simple song—one that I’ve known for as long as I can remember. But as I sing it with Will, I feel a new, deep yearning for him to grasp what it means, and therefore, I grapple with what it means. Oh Lord, how I long for him to know You—how I long for the light of Christ to dwell and shine from his young life.
I remember watching the news when Will was just three months old. The mess we had made of God’s perfect creation disheartened me. Parts of the world were exploding with anger and war and pain. As I watched my baby asleep close by—his little chest rising and falling, as steady as the tide—I almost felt the need to apologize to him. What kind of world had we created? I was saddened by the darkness of our society and sorry for the state of the world. Then light broke through. I leaned over and whispered what I knew to be true. This isn’t it, Will. We weren’t created for this world. So as you grow up in the world—take heart. Jesus has already taken care of this mess. Our biggest problem has been taken care of. Don’t lose heart. Jesus is greater. He will make all things new.
All things new—like the sunrise coming up over the water. Light defeats darkness—every time. Do you believe that? And if you believe it, do you live like you do? Let your light shine before others, that they may see and give glory to God. The flickering light switches in our house are so much more than a happy melody and silly dance. They are significant reminders of what my heart desperately needs to remember. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.