“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” — 1 Thessalonians 1:6.
One of the things I love most about my wife is her stentorian laugh. I cannot count the number of times that crowds in churches, movie theaters, or comedy shows have gotten to know me and my wife because of her inimitable laugh. She has one of those turn-your-head-and-strain-your-eyes-to-find-out-where-that-thunderous-sound-is-coming-from kind of laughs — one of those laughs that cannot be ignored, even if you try (and, believe me, I have). When she finds something funny, she throws her head back, braces her diaphragm with her hands, and lets loose a raucous torrent of booming guffaws, which she ultimately concludes with a dainty and tasteful tee-hee.
For many years, she tried to control her intractable laugh, or at least make it more melodious and musical. But she never succeeded! So, today, she embraces her laugh and allows herself to communicate those spontaneous and raucous moments of joy without restraint. And I have come to embrace her laugh, as well. I love it! Yes, it often embarrasses me. But I love how that cacophonous tsunami of joy bursts forth from deep within her soul and floods the ears and hearts of everyone around her. Her laughter is so emphatic, and the joy it expresses is so pure and primal, that it compels people to turn their heads, looking for the answer to an unspoken question they all share — namely, What’s so funny?
I am struck by the realization that my wife’s laugh, and how people respond to it, is a beautiful illustration of how the Gospel is communicated most effectively in laughter and joy. As a follower of Jesus, I am a herald of the best and happiest news in the world. I have every reason to be filled with joy and hope because I know that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, has secured salvation and the forgiveness of sins for all mankind. Never will there be better news than that! Never will there be more reason to rejoice than to know that we all can be saved by God’s grace, if we place our faith in Jesus!
I have the best and happiest news in the world; it follows that my life and demeanor should reflect that truth. My presence should carry with it the same kind of joy my wife communicates through her laughter. My countenance should be so loud and raucous with unrestrained joy that people are compelled to stop, turn their heads and ask, “What’s so funny?” This is the Gospel in laughter.