It was a quiet winter day. The bulk of my ‘ministry’ duties were behind me. The last pot had been scrubbed and the door shut on our spaghetti dinner. My friend Tony had arranged, with some of the families of the basketball team he coaches, to cook and serve a meal at our Drop In. This was week 2 of 3 that such groups volunteered to feed our folk. I was enjoying a leisurely afternoon with no big event on the horizon. I turned on the television and began to watch “White Christmas”. I don’t know how many times I had seen it before but I thoroughly enjoyed it that afternoon. I found myself laughing out loud at some of Danny Kaye’s antics. I know people often type lol but we seldom do really laugh out loud! But this day I laughed (not just chuckled) several times. As I laughed I began to feel different! I felt as if a dark cloud was parting and the sun was breaking through. I hadn’t realised until that moment how sad (read depressed) I had been. 2017 has been a tough year. Our hopes for better health for our daughter-in-law have not been fulfilled. Death has dogged us first my mom, then my sister-in-law, and my dear friend Donnie. Finances for the ministry have lagged, and I have dealt with a number of aches which remind me I am not as young as I was. That laugh though broke something! Danny Kaye was a gift from God to me that day.
A friend was opining about “the war on Christmas” and people’s militant insistence on the phrase “Merry Christmas.” He asked if “merry was even a biblical word. I reached back into my King James infused memory and retrieved the adage “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” That afternoon I experienced that medicine. With that chortle hope broke in. It marked the advent of God’s work in my life. The circumstances of this sin sick world were the same but I was no longer the same. Laughter proved to be the best gift of all this Christmas. I enjoyed the services on Christmas Eve and Christmas much more because of the advent of hope.
Too often we can go through life unaware of the joy which is the fruit of knowing Christ. His gift of laughter might not unleash joy in all of us all the time, but it certainly (if unexpectantly) did for me. Instead of merely typing ‘lol’ I am going to attempt to laugh more this year. We have “good tidings of great joy…”
Tonight we have folks who have made soup and sandwiches for those who venture out to our Drop In on this cold December night. I expect that there will be lots of joy and hopefully laughter filling the room. I hope we can carry it throughout the year.