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Reply to ""Home for the Haggadah" this Advent ~ an at-home special meal and celebration; plus resources for teaching about Hanukkah"

Give Me Oil in My Lamp 

A song for Hanukkah too!

This old camp sing-a-long favorite has several different versions and many different verses. It's easy for all ages, with or without musical accompaniment. 

Here's a basic version of the song "Give Me Oil in My Lamp" on YouTube from Wee Sing Bible Songs.

The song's opening verse is said to allude to the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids holding lamps and waiting for the groom (Jesus). But its imagery can also easily apply to Hanukkah -- the festival that includes the miracle of the oil in the Temple lampstand burning for eight days. (oil lamps, not candles as used today.)

There are two versions of the song: the one they sing in church and children's choirs, and the one we sing at camp and in youth groups!  I'm suggesting the "camp" version because it has some funny rhymes in it and can be sung fast, slow, and with motions -- meaning: kids will WANT to sing it and will long remember it.  

Here's the first verse eponymous with the name of the song and the repeating chorus sung after each verse:

Verse 1
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning

Give me oil in my lamp, I pray
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning,
Keep me burning till the break of day
Chorus:
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna

Sing hosanna to the King of Kings (hallelujah)
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna, to the King.


Here are some of the fun "camp lyrics" of the song you may remember:

Give me gas for my Ford, keep me trucking for the Lord
Give me gas for my Ford, I pray.
Give me gas for my Ford, keep me trucking for the Lord,
keep me trucking til the break of day.

Give me wax for my board, keep me surfing for the Lord
Give me wax for my board, I pray...

Give me sauce for my taco, let me witness in Morocco,
Give me sauce for my taco, I pray...

For fun, I invited my "Dove Club" kids to create new verses. Here are two they came up with:

Give me seed I'm a bird, keep me chirping for the Lird.
Give me seed I'm a bird, I pray.
Give me seed I'm a bird, keep me chirping for the Lird, 
Keep me chirping til the break of day.

Give me blankets 'fore I freezus, keep me warm and safe with Jezus.
Give me blankets 'fore I freezus, I pray
Give me blankets 'fore I freezus, keep me warm and safe with Jezus.
Keep me warm and safe til the break of day.

Of course, each verse is an opportunity to explore the metaphor with kids. 

One of the favorite parts of the song for our kids club was trying to quickly sing the word "hallelujah" which they tried to wedge into the chorus without breaking the song timing. Always brought a lot of smiles.

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of Kings (hallelujah)
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna, to the King.

What other verses can you come up with? (realizing that coming up fun verses is a good discussion starter)

Give me peace for my spirit, to your presence draw me near it
Give me joy in this season, keep me burning for the reason
Give me oil Zechariah, while we wait for the Messiah 
Give me reasus for the seasus, that's it's all about you Jesus 

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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