Joy and Laughter

“. . . joy and laughter.”

“Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born.   Sarah said, “God has brought me joy and laughter.  Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:5-6)If you remember, I’ve told you in the past that we have a deer issue at our house.  On several occasions we’ve had to wait to pull into our driveway until the four or more deer eating acorns in our driveway cleared a path for us.  Then this past spring a mother deer used our backyard as a playpen for her twin fauns.  Many times after dark I’ve heard our dog barking in the fenced-in part of the back yard.  I’ve looked out to find a deer standing about eight feet from the fence just staring at our dog while the dog barked her head off.  Now this!  We first saw the large female on the right (I couldn’t find one without antlers so just go along and pretend she doesn’t have antlers).  Then a couple of weeks closer to Christmas the big guy dressed in red wandered into the yard.  I warned Patti that we might have problems.  I wasn’t too sure about this guy with the red nose.  Seemed to me like he’d been hitting the Christmas “spirits” a little too frequently.  Sure enough, I was right.  He wasn’t to be trusted.  About a week later the new set of twins showed up!

This Christmas along with the hope, joy, and peace, I hope you receive the gift of laughter as well.  I hope just maybe that my humble attempt at a joke in the opening paragraph will start you on your way to a season with laughter.  I love the story of the birth of Isaac.  Along with the wonderful feelings of awe, wonder, and gratitude Sarah must have felt when they placed the gift of her new son in her arms, Sarah also felt the urge to laugh and couldn’t hold back.  She was overcome by the humor in the fact that two old people well beyond their years for childbearing were blessed by God with a son.  As a matter of fact, we’re told that the name “Isaac” means, “he laughs.”  That means in a way that we’re actually descendants of laughter.

Now forgive me for messing with the traditional, tranquil scene of the nativity, but I can’t help but imagine that there was more than just majesty,wonder, awe, joy and peace at the birth of Christ.  I think there was also laughter.  Surely someone made jokes about the innkeeper having missed out on something really big.  Just maybe those ruffian shepherds (the cowboys of Jesus’ day) were making jokes about passing gas or who knows what else.  Laughter is a gift from God that I believe can have amazing healing powers when shared in a healthy way.  There are several places in the gospels where I think Jesus was probably laughing.

Laughter can be a great gift for those who find Christmas to be a time of difficult feelings, memories and experiences.  Don’t be afraid to allow yourself to laugh, even in the midst of sorrow and sadness.  The liturgy we use in funerals says, “In the midst of life we are in death.  From whom can we seek help?  Our help comes in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth . . .”  The Lord who made heaven and earth also gave us the give of laughter.  Use it generously!  I pray that, like Sarah, God will keep me laughing, and others with me.  How about you?  Merry Christmas!

Blessings and Peace,

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on December 18, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: