WHEN was the last time you had a good laugh?  I mean a really good laugh, bringing tears to the eyes, and leaving you weak from the expense of energy?  Or when was the last time that you allowed yourself a chuckle at a seemingly absurd event which you had encountered in your life?  Laughter is a great release of tension, and it helps to keep a proper perspective on life, and yet for some reason, many of us have extinguished the flame of laughter from our lives.

One of the characteristic fruits of the Spirit is joy; yet when you look around many churches - even many workplaces, you encounter sombre faces, people about whom one of the last descriptions you would make would be joyous.  Of course, there are those who might retort, "How can we afford to be joyous with so much suffering about us?"  Yet the level of suffering in Jesus' day was just as real, and he exhibited a great deal of joy in life.  He was accused of "partying" with unsavoury types.  Many of the parables he told concluded with celebrations - feasts.  Amongst the pictures he gave of the kingdom of God, the wedding-feast was prominent.  It is right to be joyous because life is to be enjoyed, because God has given us so many wonderful things - even life itself.

Of course to enjoy life is not to turn away from its difficulties, but to find the courage to face them that others may learn to enjoy life in new ways.  This is the message of the kingdom - the good news of Jesus Christ: "I have come that you might have life, and have it in abundance!".

Go on, find time to a laugh - there is much to be thankful for, and to enjoy!

November 27, 1994
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