Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Laughter and Fun

Day 17: Laughter

I am thankful for laughter.  I enjoy laughing.  I also enjoy hearing others laugh when they are laughing at something that is really funny.  Laughter can bring so much healing.  It relieves tension, it helps us breathe and relax, it unites people, and it usually brings good memories.  Sharing laughter with others is a great way to build relationships and enjoy others.

It's no wonder that people often say that laughter is the best medicine.  It may or may not be the best, but it certainly is helpful.  The Bible says it like this:

"A joyful heart is good medicine..." (Proverbs 17:22a NASB)

Good laughter can lead to a joyful heart, which is good medicine.  I say can because it does depend on what is causing the laughter.  Good, clean laughter in good, clean fun is the kind of laughter for which I am thankful! 

I want to be clear that sometimes laughter does not bring joy.  Laughter that is compelled by evil or mockery is not good laughter.  Laughter that is at someone else's expense is not the kind of laughter that brings joy to anyone.  As I have grown and as I have continued to fall more in love with my Lord, I have realized that the jokes, movies, pranks, and language that used to make me laugh are no longer funny to me.  In fact, that kind of humor often makes me sad.  It makes me sad because if I engage in that or witness others doing so, I realize that the very sins that put Jesus on the cross are being laughed at by so many.  Is that really funny?  If we take a look at what we are laughing at we may see that perhaps our humor needs some reconstruction.

Even Jesus was laughed at when He was here on earth right before he brought a little girl back to life:

"He said, "Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him." (Matthew 9:24 NASB)

Now I find much more satisfaction in laughing at what really is funny and enjoying the gift of laughter that God gave us.  I love hearing my children laugh, sometimes hysterically.  There is nothing like that little kid giggle.  It is just so cute!  I also love hearing my husband laugh.  It's fun when something I say makes someone else laugh.  Everyone likes to feel like maybe they are witty every now and then right?

I look forward to times with family and friends during the holiday season when more of us get together than usual.  It will be fun to spend time with the people we rarely get to see and most likely there will be much laughter.  I love those memories of laughing so hard we're crying.  Those are fun times.  I hope your holidays will be filled with laughter, as well.

Thank You, LORD, for giving us laughter!  How boring life would be without anything to laugh about.   

Day 18: Fun

I am also thankful for good, clean fun.  Fun is a relative term I suppose.  What is fun to me may not be fun to you.  However we can all find something that is fun.  My ideas of what is fun have also changed over the years.

I have a lot of fun with my husband and children.  I enjoy spending time with them, especially when we just have time to hang out and enjoy each other without many time constraints or places to go. 

I also find traveling very fun.  I haven't done as much traveling, since my children were born, but before that I enjoyed visiting eighteeen countries and twenty-something states for various reasons and with various people.  It wasn't all fun, but overall there was a lot of fun had on each of those trips.  I am very thankful for those times.

I have learned to appreciate fun more after I learned to appreciate work more.  Work is necessary.  We all have work to do whether it is a career, staying home with the children, cleaning, etc.  One phrase we teach our children, especially when they protest their chores, is "Work first, then play."  The play is so much more enjoyable after the work has been completed!  This really is true.  Work completed is such a relief that frees one up to then go have fun. 

I find that in our society there seems to be a pressure to make sure your children are always having fun.  Why?  Is this realistic?  Don't they need to learn to thrive in the times that are not fun?  Perhaps if we taught our children a balanced approach to fun there would be more adults who understood the need to work well and then play well.  Both are necessary.

Anyway...  I love having fun.  Sometimes I don't get enough of it, but I realize that other times I need to relax and have more fun in the everyday tasks that can get mundane. 

Isn't it great that the Creator of the universe made us to enjoy fun?  I love that.  He also made us each to find different things fun.  One person might find reading a good book fun.  Another might find sky diving fun.  There is such a variety of choices and many ways to enjoy life and have fun (some of them safer than others).

Thank You, LORD, for fun.  Please help me glorify You while I am having fun.  You are such a good God!

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