"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." -- John 15:11
There is no evidence in the Bible that Jesus laughed. I looked. However, in my heart, I know that Jesus must have had a good belly laugh from time to time, even if he is sometimes called "the man of sorrows."
Yes, He did carry the weight of the world on his shoulders in his 33 years here on earth, but he also lived as we live, and must have had some moments of pure joy as well. He loved to have children around him. Think about the smiles and laughter that must have brought! Children were sitting on his lap and standing around him, telling him things that were important to them. We all know the funny things kids can say.
I am thinking about this today because this picture of laughing Jesus was my friend Carol's favorite image of Jesus. She gave me a little card of the picture several years ago and I still carry it in my wallet. It is comforting to know that our loving Savior, who took on our sins so we could be free, found joy in this world.
Joy is sometimes very hard to find in our busy work-a-day lives. I think we think and feel that our joy comes from others...our spouse, our children, our coworkers, our friends. If people treat me right and do what I want, I will be happy, right? Well, I have discovered that my joy comes from my own beliefs and more importantly, my own attitude. If I WANT to be happy about my life and LIVE like I want to be happy, then I find reasons to be joyful. The opposite is true too, however. I can find plenty of reasons to be miserable in this world too...if WANT to be miserable and LIVE like a am miserable, then I certainly will be.
My friend Carol as been in my thoughts a lot lately, since she is no longer there for me to call and laugh with. She had plenty of reasons to be miserable in the last few years. Her sister died of cancer a year ago and her own cancer came on with a vengeance, stealing her ability to stand, and do the things she so wanted to do. But, the last visit I had with her in the hospital a week or so before her death was one of the best conversations we ever had. Yes, she was worried about things, but she also found plenty of reasons to laugh. We laughed A LOT in that hour-long visit. She even had her nurse laughing so hard she cried! Carol loved Jesus so much, and I am comforted in the belief that she is laughing WITH Jesus now and has eternity to be joyful with him in heaven!
I'm going to carry that picture of laughing Jesus with me today as I go out into the not-so-joyful world. I am going to look for reasons to be happy and laugh! Laughter IS infectious! I hope everyone around me gets it too!