The gift of Laughter

The Gift of Laughter

Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a fan of Halloween,  and,  they also understand that I am always glad when the dreaded day is over. From late in September through all of October it seems evil is magnified. In every store, no matter where you go, you will find dark decorative displays.

Recently, I was at the Dollar Store. I went down the clearance aisle and lying there in a bin marked 90% off were a few plastic skeletons smiling at me. Instantly, my thoughts engaged with the Holy Spirit, "Lord," I asked, "why do the skeletons look like they are smiling—it’s as if they were frozen in laughter."

My thoughts wandered, when was the last time I laughed? I mean really laughed, a strong, loud pain-in-my side, out-of-breath laugh?

What about you? Do you spend money to watch something funny at the movies, on a stage? Or search the internet for jokes and memes? Is cable television the only time you ever really laugh? Cant remember? Have you forgotten? 

Do these questions seem silly? Must laughter be provoked? I know we can chuckle or even roar at funny jokes, or with funny people, but do we own the smile, the laughter, the joy? Joy is something that is given to us, it is hidden in a place where we are called to abide, it’s within a Person. He said, "Make yourselves at home in my love" (John 15:10 MSG). Hidden within love, joy is found. Joy expressed is laughter. Smiles are the keys that unlock this wonder.

I do not know your answers to these questions, but I am asking because I want the answers. I want laughter to become part of who I am, and what I do, naturally, consistently. I want to swim in the river of joy, splash in the waters of laughter and drink in the smiles. Everywhere I go, I want to take the joy that God gives me and I want to touch others, give it away!

God created our skeleton. Science studies it, we learn about them in school, we label them, draw them, and we use them as Halloween’s icon of fear. Yet in all this, I wonder does anyone ever stop to notice that skeletons seem to be frozen in a laughing position? Not in a freak, shrilling, howling, dark manner, but in a permanent, never-to-be-changed-or-altered-for-all-eternity manner. 

Why? The only time we see real skeletons,  lying around out in the open is Halloween,  in a movie, a science lab, or museum, skeletons are hidden. Buried. And when discovered, a mystery is uncovered with them, because skeletons are speaking—they hold a hidden message. One that is buried. 

This is what I think the message is: We can laugh for all eternity if we choose. And we must choose. God who is joy wants us to choose Him. For He is joy and He has wrapped laughter up, tucked it away, buried it deep within Himself, and this joy and His Spirit beckon us to come seek it out, uncover it, unbury it, discover it, wear it, share it—today, tomorrow, in our here and now while we are alive.

Find joy in simple moments, days, people. Find joy in knowing that Jesus delights in us. Whatever it is, that joy, that smile, that laughter, should be exceedingly full, spilling out and splashing everyone we meet. We have all heard it said that practice makes perfect, but the reality is, that practice only makes us better. 

Lets get better at laughter. Start with smiling.

Oh sure, it might not make circumstances or situations better, but I assure you, it will fill every empty place. What’s more, its free, friendly, and its contagious. Proverbs 18:24 instructs us friendship. My thoughts are that it all begins with a smile—this is where joy begins. 

Dont wait until you're dead, having become a skeleton discovered doing what you were meant to do while you were alive. Start practising today and just as the people of Israel when their fortunes were restored they proclaimed they were like those who dream and their mouths were filled with laughter; as their tongues sang for joy. Psalm 126:2 (NIV)

In God’s home, there is no crying, no sorrow, no pain, no death (Revelation 21:4). We all long to get there to experience perpetual and eternal joy. I imagine everyone smiles in heaven. Lets bring heaven down.