Ecclesiastes 2:2 – "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?" (NIV)
I like to laugh. A funny joke, an amusing story, or some old-fashioned, silent, slapstick movie usually has me creasing with laughter. I also love being in the company of family and friends, when we share funny stories, do daft things, and tell corny jokes. Even during some intense and awful moments in my life, laughter helped to heal my pain. The Bible tells us, "A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22a NIV). I can think of no better way to create a cheerful heart than what is produced by laughing.
Sometimes, when I read the Book of Ecclesiastes, I get the feeling that the writer missed out on life by not being able to loosen up, lighten his spirit, and laugh at himself. He seems to be as serious and as sombre as Hamlet or Macbeth in a Shakespearean play. I wish that he had learned the secret of happiness: to be content with what he had and to enjoy the life that God had given him. Perhaps if he had, Ecclesiastes might have been a brighter book instead of appearing as a torturous tome at times.
As we embrace a new year, perhaps we should seek to follow a new mantra:
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to laugh at ourselves frequently, so that we can truly learn to love life. Allow us to enjoy the company of others — our families, our friends, and our church folks. May we show our faith in You by sharing joy and laughter each day. In Your holy name, we laugh and pray. Amen.