The Light Of The World Is Jesus

Familiar sounds of Christmas might include sleigh bells ringing, friends calling “yoo hoo” — and the encouragement to remember the reason for the season. Our song, “The Light Of The World Is Jesus”, is not part of any Christmas playlist I’ve heard, but its message and gentle, entreating tone blends beautifully with the reasons we celebrate not only at Christmas time but any time of year. Please give it a sing-along listen and come back to learn a little more about its Civil War-era song-writer, one we’ve heard from another time on this song site.

About the hymn writer

Philip Paul Bliss (1838 – 1876) was an American composer, conductor, hymn writer and a bass-baritone Gospel singer. He wrote many well-known hymns, including Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” (1871) and the tune for Horatio Spafford’s “It Is Well with My Soul” (1876). Bliss was a recognized friend of D. L. Moody, the famous Chicago preacher. An outspoken Abolitionist, he served as a Lieutenant during the American Civil War.

Bliss’s life is a fascinating story of diligence and hard work. He was born in a log cabin in Pennsylvania. His father led the family to pray daily and his mother taught them the Bible. He loved music and was allowed to develop his passion for singing. He left home as a young boy — age eleven — to make a living by working on farms and in lumber camps, all while trying to continue his schooling. That same year he saw a piano for the first time. He got saved at a revival meeting at age twelve. At age seventeen he completed requirements to teach and at eighteen became a schoolmaster in Hartsville, a small town in southwestern New York state. Bliss became an itinerant music teacher, making house calls on horseback during the winter, and during the summer attending the Normal Academy of Music in Geneseo, New York. His first song was published in 1864. Four years later Dwight L. Moody advised him to become a singing evangelist. For the last two years of his life Bliss traveled with Major D. W. Whittle and led the music at revival meetings in the Midwest and Southern United States. He died at the young age of 38 in a tragic railroad accident that occurred while traveling to sing and lead music at revival meetings in Chicago at Moody’s Tabernacle.

Philip Bliss packed a lot of enduring work into an all-too-short life. Besides many wonderful hymns, he left us a good example of redeeming the time (“making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. Ephesians 5:16, AMP).

You can read more about Philip P. Bliss at — and Wikipedia —

Evangelizing at Christmas?

I found this evangelistic hymn while looking for Christmas songs about Jesus being the light of the world. Though not part of the usual Christmas music radio rotation, this song strikes me as being wonderfully appropriate for Christmas, a season which obviously offers all kinds of opportunities to bring up the Lord in conversation.

IDEA: Give the gift of good news.

A song that mentions sin

I get the sense that “sin” is more likely to be mentioned in older hymns than in modern church songs. It may be true that we are living in a time when the pendulum has swung from “legalistic” preaching on such classic evils as drink and dance to preaching on the wonderful grace of the Lord. Legalistic preaching drives some people away, which is not the best we might hope for. But if we were to preach only the wonderful grace of the Lord it might dull the sense of mourning the real consequences sin brings to all human lives, including our own.

Bibles — even modern translations — still talk about sin. We do well to keep the ability to sing about its ugliness and the need to avoid it. I love the tender, earnest way this song encourages us to intentionally depart from sin and darkness in our lives by reminding us over and over that the light of the world is Jesus.

God bless you lots!
-Dale R.

Download this song sheet

LYRICS: The Light Of The World Is Jesus
Text and Tune: Philip. P. Bliss (1875)

1. The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin.
The light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday, his glory shone in.
The light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee.
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The light of the world is Jesus!

2. No darkness have we who in Jesus abide.
The light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light when we follow our guide.
The light of the world is Jesus!

3. Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes,
The light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash, at his bidding, and light will arise.
The light of the world is Jesus!

4. No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told;
The light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the light in the city of gold.
The light of the world is Jesus!

Let’s stay in touch

Each time I post a new song and lesson here I send a brief, cheerful note to friends of this song site. The note gives a quick description of the song and lesson along with a link to the new song’s page. It is super-easy for you to get a note from me, too. Just click the green “Song of the Week” button below and you are almost there.

To sweeten the deal, you will also get instant access to the “Music Box” where I put all the free resources and downloads that go along with these song pages. Check it out now! Good stuff. (Side note — I still post announcements on social media, too, even though I have learned it is terribly unreliable at getting the message out and keeping us connected. Email gets that job done where social media fails. We do well to connect this way, and avoid getting throttled by social media.)

Song of the Week

Share your wisdom with other readers ...

Please feel free to add your thoughts to this conversation in the “Leave a reply” spot below.

2 Replies to “The Light Of The World Is Jesus”

  1. Julia Witchard

    Good early morning Mr Dale, “HOW PRECIOUS ARE THOSE WORDS”….. “OUR FATHER JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD “….. “YES HE IS”. , Mr Dale HE WAS BORN INTO THIS WORLD TO SHOW US THE LIGHT THAT WOULD LIGHT UP THE WHOLE WORLD, ….HE CAME HE CONQUER AND NOW HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER GOD, BECAUSE HE IS THE RIGHT HAND OF OUR FATHER GOD ……. There is so much in this song and sermon… That brings”JOY “To The World… Mr Bliss was created to bring so much joy to so many people, being at an young age and knew his calling, he let nothing stop him … Remember Mr Dale when OUR FATHER JESUS SAID, IF U LOVE ANYONE MORE THAN THE FATHER U ARE NOT WORTHY OF HIM, …… father, mother, husband, wife, sister, brother, or children, is not worthy of”HIM”……..Mr Bliss carried out his purpose in this life, as OUR FAMILY, CREATED Him To …he did the w WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, AND Nothing stop him or got in his way…………….. AS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER JESUS DID, LEFT HIS Earthly mom and dad , and FINISHED THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER…. We all are call, but it’s up to us to make that chose…Mr Bliss, memories still lives on, it took someone like u to bring back, memories of him, ,to show that his purpose was not unnoticed, he still lives on in memories, ….. thanks Mr Dale, for all u do …to show THE LOVE OF THE HEAVENLY FATHER,,… Your purpose in life….u and Cathy are a blessing.. to keep the “MEMORIES”. Of those who chose to follow OUR HEAVENLY FATHER JESUS…….. Blessings 🙏 and love 💞 to u both always….

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Julia, you touched on a lot of great ideas in your note! So true, HE is the LIGHT … nothing and no one else comes close. What a tragedy to go through life and miss that! To live and miss the Lord is to fail in life. Mr. Bliss didn’t live long compared to a lot of people, but he sure latched on to the Lord and blessed a lot of people! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. God bless you lots — Dale R.


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