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Saturday, 1 December 2012

                                        Did Jesus ever laugh?

     I may be wrong, but I have yet to find a place in the Bible where Jesus is actually laughing. In fact, the only time I can recall Jesus actually smiling is when he is surrounded by little children, and this may well be artistic interpretation.
     We know that Jesus wept, and we know that he got very angry in the temple, and justifiably so. He was not angry at something the people had done to him, rather at something they were doing to His Father's house. But when it comes to Jesus laughing, I am at a loss.
     Perhaps he produced a smile of derision, as when he noted the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but did he ever laugh along with the apostles over something some one of them may have done. It is very conceivable that Peter would have been the object of mirth because of his naivety, but did Jesus really laugh? When he did, it must have been a good laugh, a kind laugh, and a laugh which would injure nobody.
     One thing is for certain. He did not laugh a lot during his ministry. And this seems to fly in the face of contemporary society's fixation with stand-up comedy, and television sitcoms. Are they really that funny, or do they simply use other peoples' misfortunes and imperfections as a means of put downs and derision? Would Jesus laugh at people?
     If laughter must be so selective, then where are we to find it as good Christians. What we simply have to do is follow Jesus' lead. Never laugh at people. Use wit and humour by all means, but keep it clean and innocuous.
Do not hurt other people in order to 'feel good' about yourself, because the shoe may well be on the other foot sooner than you might think.
     Bishop Fulton J. Sheen used to make thousands of people laugh with the simplest and most wholesome stories, well told and well thought out. He was never nasty and always kind, but he was very, very funny.
     Contemporay talk show hosts would do well to watch some of his video tapes. But then, if they cut out all the satire and sarcasm and off colour jokes, they wouldn't have any material for their shows.
     If we follow Jesus, we laugh with good nature, kindness and appropriateness for all. We say things which would be appropriate in any circumstance or milieu. Without these elements, laughter has no place in a Christian life.

Rod McDonald