Abraham and Sarah had a son named Isaac. Despite the odds—being beyond child-bearing years—they bore a son.
Upon hearing the news that she would have a child, Sarah laughed. Was it laughter of joy, at the prospect of caring for that bundle of joy, or was it disbelief that such a thing was even possible? Probably the latter, because Sarah seemed to be ashamed of her laughter. But it doesn’t really matter—laughter is a hard thing to force, it is almost always a natural response to something unexpected. The son they bore was named Isaac, the very word means laughter. An ever present reminder of (not of the indiscretion of laughing, but) the marvelous God, who keeps promises.
Rarely is this column used to criticize anything—but Christians could do well to give up our dower, serious and often humourless bearing we too often project. Just like people wonder, what’s so good about Good Friday, so too people wonder, what so good about the Good News, when it is delivered in such judgmental and unhappy tones.
Faking happiness and laughter won’t help either—and there’s probably way too much of that around too.
Striking a balance is the goal—there are times for sadness and mourning. Our grief and sorrows need to be honoured too. After all, the Good News is serious business.
That is one of the things I truly love about our community, we usually strike a good balance between honouring the trials of life and taking joy at the sweetness and beauty that abounds. Trials that are offset by the grace of God and joys made all the more wonderful by God’s love.
I’m not one who’s given over easily to naïve innocence and there’s nothing naïve about being optimistic. Optimism is hard work, but work that I believe is of God, it helps foster true joy. A joy that is genuine and infectious. A joy that that can’t be contained. A joy that often surfaces as laughter. Sometimes it’s disbelief that such Good News is even possible. Sometimes it is shear joy because of the possibilities that exist because of it. Either way, joy is the centre of the Good News: that the Christ can be born in each and everyone of us.