When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?
You know, like Santa. He had a “round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.”
There are many reasons to have a good laugh. For starters, it burns calories. Maybe not as much as a good run. But laughing is a whole lot more fun.
Modern science credits laughing – heartily and often – with things like relieving emotional stress and working out the muscles of the diaphragm, abdomen, back and shoulders.
Seems King Solomon was right when he said, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22a) So, go ahead. Laugh. It’s good for you.
And it’s good for your testimony, too, if you’re a Christian. The Psalmist said this in chapter 126:
“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’”
Makes sense, doesn’t it? When people see Christians as a joyful people, it’s like a testimony to the fact that God is at work in your life.
Who should have more to be joyful about than those of us who know that the absolute worst thing that could happen to us in this life would put us in the presence of our Savior for all eternity?
But even when you don’t seem to have anything to smile, or laugh, about in this current life, let me give you a secret.
(Look, you either smiled, or leaned in closer, didn’t you?)
You see, even when things aren’t going great, “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b).
When we remember what God has done for us – and in us – that joy can give us the strength to make it through the circumstances that are trying to steal that joy.
So go on. Laugh. A lot. And often.
Find a good, clean comedian (there are scores, if you look for them) and play some of their stuff. Turn on America’s Funniest Home Videos and laugh at all the people falling down, and all the dads pitching balls to their toddlers from way too close. (Isn’t it funny how we laugh at … um, I mean … with people who are doing things that we hope never happen to us.)
Shoot. It’s 2015. Just YouTube Tim Hawkins. That could keep you laughing for hours.
And don’t have the last laugh. Keep it going.
And, who knows? You might lose those love handles in the process.