The People with the Lamp

“…to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:79


“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16


One of the most recognized symbols in nursing is the lamp, but the reason behind this symbol goes back to a pioneer in the field: Florence Nightingale. The British government adopted the lamp to honor her pioneering work in the field of nursing.

In 1854, the Crimean War broke out, as the British Empire and the Russian Empire struggled for control of the Ottoman Empire. Florence Nightingale was a nurse sent to a base hospital where wounded British soldiers were being taken. She soon became known for her compassion and seemingly tireless concern for the men. She would walk the halls at night, personally attending to the soldiers, and earned the nickname “the Lady with the Lamp.” It was said that soldiers, finding comfort in her care, would kiss her shadow. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the following lines about her in his poem “Santa Filomena”:


“Lo! In that house of misery

A lady with a lamp I see

Pass through the glimmering gloom

And flit from room to room.”


Luke 1:79 and Matthew 4:16 are prophetic verses about part of Christ’s calling: to give light to those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death. His presence was a source of life and hope wherever he went. Throughout Scripture, His occupation was about those around Him. He was Light; we are called to carry that Light into the world.

What if we were to become The People of Lamp? What if we saw each day at our workplaces as places where our faith and peace were needed? What if we looked with our spiritual eyes at those who are in such need, wounded, hopeless, and dying around us? Jesus came to bring light to those who sit in darkness; shouldn’t we do the same?


Dear Father,

      Show me how to be Your light to a lost world. Teach me to be less about me and all  about You and what You want from me. Help me to fulfill my calling to bring Your light to all those I come in contact with, especially at my workplace this week. Open my eyes to the needs of those around me. Thank You for Your wisdom and peace.


In Jesus’ Name,