This little light of mine

This Little Light of Mine” is a gospel children’s song with lyrics by Avis Burgeson Christiansen and a tune written by composer and teacher Harry Dixon Loes (1895–1965) circa 1920.

Loes, who studied at the Moody Bible Institute and the American Conservatory of Music, was a musical composer and teacher, who wrote or co-wrote several other gospel songs. The song has since entered the folk tradition, first being collected by John Lomax in 1939. Often thought of as a Negro spiritual, it does not, however, appear in any collection of jubilee or plantation songs from the nineteenth century.

Depending on the source, the song may take its theme from Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heaven.” Alternatively, it may refer to the words of Jesus in Luke 11:33, where he said, “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.” Or, it may be based on Matthew 5:14–15, where Jesus said, “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.”[1]

Lyrics:

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.
Every day, every day, every day, every way,
Gonna let my little light shine.
Light that shines is the light of love,
Hides the darkness from above,
Shines on me and it shines on you,
Shows you what the power of love can do.
Shine my light both bright and clear,
Shine my light both far and near,
In every dark corner that I find,
Let my little light shine.
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.
Monday gave me the gift of love,
Tuesday peace came from above,
Wednesday told me to have more faith,
Thursday gave me a little more grace,
Friday told me to watch and pray,
Saturday told me just what to say,
Sunday gave me the power divine,
Just to let my little light shine.
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.
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.

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Shine, shine, shine, shine, shine.