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A Little Laughter

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Eccl. 11:9, NIV.

Bill and Gloria Gaither have a song that refers to the sound of children at play. Is there anything more refreshing than the laughter of children as they play?

It's a shame that so many of us lose this joyous "music" as we grow older and get bogged down in our stress-filled lives. We long for fun and fulfillment, for satisfaction in our jobs, and for the positive power of peace. And we end up with distress instead of delight, crisis instead of calm.

In my search for a stress-free lifestyle, I've followed the example of King David and tried to slow down and get in touch with God through prayer and meditation.

As the apostle Paul admonished, I had sought to find peace, joy, and contentment. But there was still something missing. I discovered the answer one day when my little nephew, Calvin, began laughing as he played with a plastic toy. Playfully I said "stop," and he laughed louder. It was contagious, and soon both of us were laughing so hard we couldn't talk.

Later Calvin mumbled under his breath, "I didn't know you could laugh, Aunt Caroline!"

That hit me! Had my daily life become so completely permeated by the seriousness of just existing that I had forgotten how to laugh?

Dr. Lee Burke, a specialist in preventative care at Loma Linda University, says, "I think laughter extends life for months, perhaps years. Happiness is good medicine." Burke, whose work is reviewed in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, mentions a dozen scientific studies showing the Bible's advice to be accurate: "A merry heart does good, like medicine" (Prov. 17:22, NKJV). Dr. David Spiegel, of Stanford University School of Medicine, agrees: "It is very possible that happiness is a factor in longevity."

When we make a conscientious effort to get in touch with God, think positive thoughts, and to be genuinely happy, eventually these traits will become second nature to us. I'm thankful for what I've learned from David and Paul, but I'm most thankful to little Calvin for the music of laughter.

Today, find something to laugh about. Admire the marvelous things God has created for your enjoyment. Find joy in just being alive.



Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.


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