Laughter When it is Difficult to Laugh

Could you use some laughter during the stressful holidays?

Caregiver, could you use a laugh during this stressful season?

Laughter during stress…

A joyful heart is good medicine- Proverbs 17:22

Before the laughter:

Today’s post is not meant to make light of the very serious prayer requests I have received lately (a child was killed a few days ago tragically, a sister died suddenly, a woman who can no longer deal with her special needs child, a divorce, and so many others).  

One of the darkest Christmas memories we have, in our close-knit family, was when we watched a four month old baby go into the hospital with an inoperable liver tumor.  He was discharged from the hospital a few days before Christmas because the medical community said it would be the only Christmas he would ever have.  

We spent the week prior to Christmas in the Ronald McDonald Home.  It was a life-transforming experience of seeing children with tubes coming out of their shaven heads, listening to grown men weeping in the hallway, and a surreal feeling that I can only describe as the happiness of McDonald’s juxtaposed against death.

Please understand when I tell readers to lighten up for the holidays, I am in no way referring to people who have experienced a loss recently.  Rather, this post is for the rest of us who may be a bit overwhelmed and stressed out.

For anyone who needs joy this holiday:

“I haven’t laughed since I served in Vietnam.”  The man who told me this really tore at my heart strings.  I wish I had the privilege of seeing him again, but I only met him once.

Do you know someone like the man I met?

What about you?  Are you having a hard time laughing these days?  Are you tired of viewing how hateful the world is but ready to see how good God is?

This is the season of Advent.  It is a time to draw closer to God and worship Him.  However, it is difficult to praise and worship God when our minds are preoccupied with personal stress and national tragedy.

Personal laughter:

A couple of weeks ago, I realized the epitome of irony.  It was Thanksgiving week, during one of the busiest months of the year for our home.  In the month of November, our household has two birthdays and an anniversary.

The beginning of Thanksgiving week I was reminiscing about Thanksgiving the year prior.  Gratitude flooded my soul when I thought about the horrific experience of our pipes being dug up the year before.  I wrote one simple sentence in my prayer journal, “Thank You, God, that our plumbing is not torn up this week.”

God certainly has a sense of humor.  This year, at 1:30pm, on Thanksgiving Day, I left my house with a pie in my hand.  My husband and I were walking out the front door when we noticed water seeping up from under our driveway.  We were all too familiar with that sight- our incoming water pipes had burst.

The day after Thanksgiving our water was turned off for the second Black Friday in a row.  Our driveway was partially torn up again and déjà vu was creeping in.

The thought of spending $3000 two consecutive years, for plumbing problems, is nothing to laugh about.  However, the scriptures reminding me to praise God, in all situations, kept ringing in my ears.

These are not the only crazy circumstances we are currently facing.  Yet, when I read the news reports of children and police officers killed, my problems pale in significance.  None of the international issues are comical.  They are all needs for us to pray over.

How can we laugh at a time like this?

How can we find peace and joy with chaos in our world?  Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”.  1 Thessalonians 5:8 tells us to have the helmet of hope.  Finally, Colossians 3:17 tells us to give thanks in all things.

Where do peace and joy originate?

We find true peace and joy in God, not in circumstances.  We may not be able to give God praise FOR all things, but we can thank God IN all things.

Before I get to our jokes today, and conclude the post, reminisce with me. Do you remember the famous advice given to Corrie Ten Boom, by her sister, while they were in the concentration camp?  Corrie’s sister told her to give thanks for the fleas in their barracks.  Corrie saw no way to give thanks for fleas, but she did as Betsie suggested.  Later, Corrie was able to see the reason for the fleas- the fleas kept the prison guards out of their barracks.

If you have never read Corrie’s books, or seen the movie “The Hiding Place”, it will truly impact you.  Her writings help you understand that you can find something to be thankful for in all circumstances.  Corrie was thankful in the worst of scenarios- a Nazi concentration camp during WWII.

Laughter during sadness:

I do not remember much laughter the year we met dying children at the Ronald McDonald home.  Out of that experience, however, came the desire for our family to help as many as we can every Christmas.  Each year we find family service projects such as going to a nursing home and asking who will not receive visitors during the holidays.

We also like to lighten up the atmosphere by playing practical jokes, such as wrapping a toilet with Christmas wrapping paper, taking silly pictures, or watching funny movies.

At the end of this post, please share your ideas to lighten up the holidays with us.

 

And now, for some funnies, compliments of a reader of this blog:

  1. “Live so the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral.”
  2. “God didn’t do it all in one day- what makes you think you can?”
  3. Q: “Where do snowmen keep their money?”  A:”In a snow bank.”
  4. Q: “What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Clause?”  A: “Claustrophobic”
  5. Q: “What do you call a cat in the desert?”  A: “Sandy Claws”
  6. “When life knocks you on your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.”
  7. “Without the bread of life, you’re toast!”

Your turn for laughter:

If those quotes and jokes are not your speed, surely you can tell us one of your favorites.  Maybe it has been a long time since you have heard a good joke.  Look up a subject you are interested in online and see what jokes you stumble upon.

For more information about the health benefits of laughter, please visit our third post about loneliness.  We also have a post about keeping your spirits up during the winter.

How about you?  What are some fun pranks that you like to pull?  What are some of your favorite jokes, comedy TV shows, or skits to watch online?  How do you incorporate laughter during stressful times?  Leave us your answers to these questions in our comment section, and come back again for more posts on stress and laughter.

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6 thoughts on “Laughter When it is Difficult to Laugh”

  1. I have to admit, sometimes I struggle finding the good in situations when things are not going as planned. This post is a good reminder that everything worth doing starts with a decision. You can decide to be joyful and see the good in all situations. Even if you can’t see it, perhaps the decision if to keep the faith that a loving God cares for you and is with you. Either way, this is a great reminder that we have to decide daily.

    1. This is such a good truth. It all boils down to one thing- do we really trust God? Do we trust that He can bring good out of the bad, that He will reward us in the end, and that He will be a just Judge? I am reminded of the movie “Facing the Giants” and the scene when he promises to trust God even if his prayers are not answered. Thank you for the wonderful truth you just shared!

  2. Because we live in the poultry center of the world, I hear a lot of jokes about chickens….
    Why did the chicken stop in the middle of the road? She wanted to “lay it on the line”.
    Why did the duck cross the road? Because it was the chicken’s day off.
    Why did the rooster cross the road? The chicken was out for dinner.
    These are funnier when you can see the reaction to how silly the jokes are. 🙂

    1. These are great! I am smiling already! Please keep putting the smiles on the faces of our readers with your wonderful jokes.

  3. Annette, love the jokes. They do put a smile on your face. We need more laughter in today’s times. With all the doom and gloom in the news and in the world, we should count it all joy because of who is in control. God is bigger than any situation we can face and if we let Him, He will guide and protect us and get us through our difficult situations. Thanks again for this wonderful Blog.

  4. Yes… we need more laughter.
    Here is a joke I heard this week- What is the Easter Bunny’s favorite type of music? Answer- Hip Hop

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