The Laughter of Children

Last night, as my family headed home from touring “Christmas Card Lane” here in San Diego, there was spontaneous laughter coming from the back seats. Mommy was making faces at Ewen, the two-year-old, and he found her hilarious. It was the  type of laughter that is contagious and Iona, five, soon joined in. I can’t even begin to describe the complete joy that washed over me in that moment.

The beauty of my children laughing. There are few sounds that bring a smile to my face and heart as these two laughing. Sure, I smile when kids in general laugh. There is innocence and pure joy in children laughing, but there is something different when it is my kids.

Recently, Steve Brown suggested that at the incarnation, the coming of Christ in flesh and blood, that God laughed. “God laughed—not with the laughter of cynicism, judgment, derision, or sarcasm—but with the free, infectious, joyful laughter of the sovereign Ruler of the universe…We didn’t expect God to laugh that way. We expected him to be angry because we knew he had every reason to be angry… But laughter? Nobody expected laughter—free, gentle, accepting, and loving. That’s what the incarnation of Christ is all about and when we fail to see it that way or when we proclaim it in any other way, we miss the whole point.”

It is then from the laughter of God that we gain freedom and learn to laugh ourselves. And not merely in a ‘spiritual’ way, but in full-bodied, fun-filled laughter.

Brown notices a lack of laughter, “Of late I have found something most of us, myself included, have missed: the laughter that comes from the freedom Christ gives us…laughter for those whom the good news has not been very good news for a long time.”  Then he goes on to encourage our laughter. “Genuine Christians ought to laugh a lot. In fact, Christians are the only people in the world who have anything to laugh about because God laughed first. And his laughter is contagious. One of the sure signs of God’s presence in the midst of his people is the laughter of his people.”

I agree, and add this thought: Imagine how much joy it brings your Father to hear you laugh. My joy at hearing my children laugh is only a glimpse of the full joy God has over you in Christ. So laugh it up friends!

2 thoughts on “The Laughter of Children

  1. Jonathan,

    I can totally relate to this joy. My kids laughter brings an emotion in me that is unlike any other, and it is probably the closest example to the joy I get from Christ. A couple years ago I had the chance to meet some POWs from the Vietnam War, guys who spent years in prison there. When asked what they missed most they answered, “a child’s laugh”. God speaks through the laughter of children, no doubt.

  2. Amen, Jonathan! I’ve been meditating on unspeakable joy, and that’s what you are describing. How blessed we are to know God’s unspeakable joy and experience it in so many ways each day.

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