This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine . . .

I have been in a love affair with the City of Lights since the third grade, when my beloved Sunday School teacher Mrs. Brallier taught me French Bible verses, French songs, and attached my heart to the monuments and history that make Paris, France.

Vector illustration of Eiffel tower at sunset. Paris, France

I became a Francophile, and the obsession hasn’t diminished over the years. Don’t ever speak to me of French snobbery or callousness, unless you want me to break into La Marseilles (yes, I still know it) and hit you over the head with a baguette. The French are a unique and endearing people. I have stayed in their homes, sung in their churches, spoken in their marketplaces, and cried at their monuments. My home is filled with all things French, and I pine almost daily for their poppy fields, their crepes (really, everything they cook!), their chateux (sorry, I don’t know how to pluralize this word in English) and their museums. My name (according to Madame Brallier) is Suzette ma crevette, and I bear it proudly, even though it insinuates that I am a shrimp.

Paris got under my skin right from the start. It was like meeting your soulmate. (After only one date, you just know.) I’ve been to Paris on only two trips, but I know her. I know her streets, her monuments, her air. There are only a few other places on earth that share this soulmate status. So it staggers my imagination to think of radicals with AK-47s bulldozing their way down charming streets and assassinating innocent Parisians as they sip their wine.

Today the world’s most-loved city is still grieving, as it has many other times under the occupation of tyrants. Her lights may have dimmed, but Paris will sparkle again soon. Paris is Paris. And Paris doesn’t let anyone tell her what to think or how to feel. It isn’t the French way.

How fitting and altogether Parisian to douse the Eiffel Tower’s lighted splendor on Friday night and allow Paris to grieve in darkness. What can I do that is equally symbolic? How can I show my fraternite for France over here in America? What can we all do besides pray (which is a good idea)?

I’m reminded of a Sunday School song, “This Little Light of Mine.”

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, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Don’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Yes! That’s what we can do! We can shine. We can shine the light of love and determination all over America and all over France. We can turn the lights back on, the lights of hope and healing and love. We decide not to hate the haters, because hate spreads darkness, and darkness eradicates light.

We can shine. Nothing will chase away fear and hate like the City of Light spreading light.

Vive la Paris! And vive the gospel of Jesus! May this tragedy spawn a new era of light and hope in God!

Matthew 5:14-16–“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

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