Last week I wrote about joy, which has led me to its twin – laughter. Just like twins, there are similarities, yet differences. Joy can be contemplative and even silent, but laughter is articulated orally and can be observed and witnessed.
Have you ever thought about how distinguishing each person’s laugh is? Some have big belly-laughs, while others cough or squeal. When God made each of us, He gave us a very unique gift, and that is laughter. Each of our laughs are different in tone, depth and loudness. Your laugh is unique just to you.
My laugh must sound like a chicken (whatever that sound might be). While in high school on a mission trip, I was told I laid “over 1,000 eggs while laughing.” My mom and others often say to me, “It is good to hear you laugh.” Laughter is contagious, and few can resist its power. Did you know laughter relieves stress? It enhances your heart, lungs, and muscles. It helps us cope with difficult situations, produces harmony, and connects us to others.
There is an old quote that states, “The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed.”
Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 17:22 says, “The light in the eyes of him whose heart is joyful rejoices the heart of others.”
I love this old poem: “If you are on the Gloomy Line, the Worry Train or the Grouchy Track, get a transfer! It’s time to climb aboard the Sonshine Train and sit in God’s Cheerful Car.”
Many years ago my husband and I were at Knott’s Berry Farm with some dear friends having dinner. We were seated in the middle of a room with booths all around. We had been laughing and enjoying being with each other. A couple sitting nearby got up to leave. As they did, they stopped by our table to tell us what a joy it had been watching us share and laugh together without drinking. Even 30 years later when we are with these precious Christian friends, laughter is always a part of our times together. Not only are memories shared but new ones made through laughter.
Laughter and joy should be something that distinguishes us from the world! So often, however, Christians act like they are pickled in pickle juice! God never intended this.
Laughter has been in short supply this last year, but who better than God’s chosen people to give us a picture of true laughter. Psalms 126 is a cry of God’s people after 50-70 years of Babylonian exile and captivity! The Jews were faced with powerful cultural pressures, became outcasts, prisoners of Babylon, lost their national spirit, their property confiscated and religious freedom lost. Wow! Sound familiar?
God, however, never stopped being God. He never left them alone. He kept in constant pursuit of them. Within this period of time God sent Ezekiel, Ezra, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and Zedekiah! Ezekiel in particular kept hope alive in God’s people, which brings us to Psalm 126:1 - “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.”
Laughter and joy can change our focus, perspective, and outlook!
A little girl was eating her breakfast one morning when a ray of sunlight appeared though the clouds and reflected off the spoon in her cereal bowl. She immediately put it into her mouth. With a big smile she exclaimed to her mother, “I just swallowed a spoonful of sunshine!”
Can the laughter of a little child change a day? Yes! So can the laughter shared between two adults, or the chuckle of a memory.
May this next week find you laughing out loud, knowing God gave you a special gift.
P.S. Don’ forget to share your laughter and grab a spoonful of Sonshine this Christmas week!
BLESSINGS TO EACH OF YOU AND A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!