Most mornings of my childhood, I woke to the sounds of my daddy loudly 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 every morning. My Dad was going to see to it that his children did that chore properly before he left for work at 6 am. 

So every morning before sun made its morning appearance, my siblings and I got up to tend to those sheep. And every morning … 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 there shining yet, then 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. She is not wrong. I am not a happy morning person. Instead, I am grumpy, grouchy, and 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.

Arise, shine … the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

Isaiah 60:1

It’s somewhat ironic that I equate my dad’s morning attitude to that of a sunbeam.

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.

One of my favorite pictures of my dad as a child is of him all dressed up for church. In the photo you can practically feel his happiness. His bright eyes are full of joy. He could certainly be described as a sunbeam sort of child.

Throughout his life, my dad kept that sunbeam personality. As an adult, my dad exuded that same sort of joy. He had a quick smile, an easy laugh, and a positive outlook on life. People naturally gravitated to him, and I believe it was due to his naturally happy attitude.

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 incredibly long toes instead.

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 simple as making a decision to do something.

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

  • rises every morning, choosing to spend time with Jesus before I start my day.
  • shines with love for others, even those who are not so easy to love.
  • rises up to face difficult situations and circumstances in a way that honors Jesus
  • shines with encouragement for others, even when my own life is not going so great.
  • rises up as I learn to trust God in all areas of my life.
  • shines by making decisions based on what Jesus would want me to do instead of using my feelings as a guide.

Let your light shine.

Matthew 5:16

Chances are pretty good, “Sunbeam” will never be my nickname. I’m just not a ray of sunshine kind of girl.  

Even so, I can still choose to “rise and shine and give God the glory, glory.” 

And who knows, maybe someday a smidge of that hereditary sunbeam DNA I am carrying around my body will decide come out and I’ll wake up with a natural smile on my face.  

A girl can always hope.

Until then, I’m going to heed the words found in the Gospel of Matthew and let my light shine for Jesus.


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