Rise and Shine, Sunbeam!

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

Isaiah 60:1

Most mornings of my childhood, I woke to the sounds of my daddy singing “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!” His joyful (somewhat off-key) wake-up call came early, long before the sun was up. 

We had a small flock of 4-H sheep to feed and water. Dad was going to see to it that we did that chore properly before he left for work, which was usually sometime around 6 am. Every morning before sunrise, my siblings and I got up to tend those sheep. Cold, hot, rainy or not, out the door we walked to the sheep pen to dole out food and fresh water to a bleating bunch of wooly lambs. 

I am sad to say that, despite my father’s cheerful encouragement, I did not rise or shine very well. My attitude was if the sun wasn’t out yet, there was no point for me to be up trying to shine either.

For most of my life, I thought my dad’s ability to rise and shine was just because he was a morning person. I am not a morning person. My mother has often described me as a “bear” in the mornings. Grumpy. Grouchy. Slow to wake up. Getting myself moving in a positive direction first thing in the morning has never been a personal strength.

My dad, however, was a morning kind of guy. His natural alarm clock went off sometime around 4:30 am. He got out of bed, made coffee, and spent some time reading the Bible and talking to Jesus. By the time he walked down the hallway to wake up his sleeping children, my dad was a walking sunbeam.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

It’s ironic that I somehow equate my dad’s morning attitude as that of a sunbeam because according to my grandmother, once upon a time my four-year-old father loved a little song all about sunbeams. He learned it in church, and it went like this:

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam

To shine for Him each day.

A sunbeam, a sunbeam

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.

A sunbeam, a sunbeam

I’ll be a sunbeam for Him.

I have a picture of my dad as a small child, dressed for church, his bright eyes full of joy. You could certainly describe him as a sunbeam sort of child.

Even as an adult, my dad exuded joy. He had a quick smile, an easy laugh, and a positive outlook on life. That’s just the kind of man he was. A sunbeam.

Sometimes, I wish I got more of my daddy’s sunbeam kind of personality. As it turns out, I got my dad’s nose and long toes. I didn’t inherit his sunbeam personality. (My daughter Julia inherited it though, so I’m definitely a “carrier” of the gene. I guess that DNA skipped a generation.)

Recently, the thought occurred to me that even though I may not have gotten my dad’s sunbeam personality, I can still rise and shine for Jesus. You see, rising and shining isn’t so much about my natural morning tendencies or any sort of hereditary trait. This is because rising and shining are both action words. And actions are as much about decisions as anything else. 

That’s why I can decide that I’m going to be a person who:

rises every morning and spends time with Jesus.

shines with love for others.

rises to tough or difficult situations and circumstances.

shines with encouragement for others, even when my own life is not going so great.

rises by trusting God with all areas of my life.

shines by making decisions based on what Jesus would want me to do.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Chances are pretty good, “Sunbeam” will never be my nickname. I’m just not a ray of sunshine kind of girl.  Yet, I can still choose to rise and shine and give God the glory, glory

And who knows … maybe someday, some of the hereditary sunbeam DNA will come out after all.  A girl can always hope.

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

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