This God—his way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30)
Though Christmas celebrations this year will be on a much smaller scale across our land, it is still a time when we rejoice and give heartfelt thanks to God for Jesus Christ. At the heart of most celebrations there are three main ingredients; the company of loved ones, food, and laughter.
For years, I have puzzled over this last ingredient; laughter. Why do we never read in the Bible that Jesus laughed? We are told plainly that at the tomb of Lazarus, ‘Jesus wept’ (John 11:35). It was clear also that his emotions ran high as he witnessed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. And on two occasions we read of his disgust at what the money changers and vendors were doing in God’s house of prayer. But we never read that He laughed. We know He must have laughed from time to time, so why the silence?
I am indebted to Joni Eareckson Tada for shining a light on this for me. She wrote:
"So why is Scripture devoid of any reference to Jesus laughing? I can make a good guess: the book ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. After reading the horrors of World War I, I had a pretty good idea as to why the Gospels leave out any record of our Lord laughing.' As grieving mothers and brokenhearted widows opened their Bibles in search of comfort, they didn’t have to worry about being assaulted by passages depicting Jesus breaking out in a belly laugh. Instead they opened their Bibles and found a man of sorrows with whom they could deeply identify:
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered..." (Hebrews 5:7-9).
It is in this picture the suffering find comfort.” *
We know from testimony that when men and women find themselves incarcerated, it is during these times of loneliness, apprehension and fear, that many turn to the Bible. How many millions of people down through the ages have been ministered to as they have sought comfort and solace in hours of suffering in the pages of this book?
It was in His wisdom and compassion that God hid the laughter of Christ from us to give us something that we need much more.
Thank God this Christmas; He makes no mistakes.
*More Precious than Silver by Joni Eareckson Tada Copyright © 1998 Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids
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