A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
We know Jesus wept but do we know that he laughed as well? I think we can assume that he did! He was steeped in the Jewish culture with their love of festivals and celebrations, we know he attended a wedding at Cana and loved to share food and wine with others. He spent time with a close group of friends, both male and female, and although some of the wit in his stories is lost in translation there are comic images and turns of phrase that we can imagine he delivered with a smile on his face.
Right now there is a lot going on which can make us worried and sad and we might think that, even if we are fine ourselves, it would be disrespectful to those who are suffering to be too happy. But I want to recommend that we all seek out opportunities to laugh. Recently Steve and I have really benefitted from watching re-runs of comedy programmes we have enjoyed in the past and the other day we came across an old Carry On film which couldn’t help but bring a smile to my face!
After all, laughter is good for us. There’s ample evidence that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving our resistance to disease - which has to be a good thing in our current situation. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals.
It is important to pray for others and to sympathise with those who are facing troubles but we can also rejoice in the fact that God loves us and values us so much he sent Jesus to die for us, and that he came to give us life in all its fullness (John 10:10). As we struggle through this pandemic, let’s not neglect seeking out opportunities for joy!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of laughter. Help us to find things to make us smile even in these testing times and to know that you love to see us experiencing joy in our lives.
Prayer Request: Children are far less inhibited than adults (do you remember getting the giggles at school?!) Let’s pray today for all the children in our church community, missing being with their friends and enjoying their usual activities; may they continue to find joy and laughter in simple things.