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Whether I’m going to pick my son up at school, do my grocery shopping or return a stack of library books, I pass several churches.   In spite of this abundance of churches and denominations, I know numerous people who simply never attend.  My guess is, that in spite of the directive to “bring the unchurched into a relationship with Christ,” the situation is the same wherever you live.

Me, being me (my husband would say nosy, I prefer inquisitive), I chat people up and I often work the conversation around to why.  “Why don’t you go to church?”  Some simply haven’t found a church that’s a good fit.  Other’s have stories to share – stories that should be funny but aren’t. And generally these stories focus on a mildly irreverent question asked by a child.  I say mildly because to kids they are just questions and aren’t meant to be disrespectful.

If you are around kids, you know they ask these questions all the time.  One Sunday, my preschooler marched up to the pastor and asked what God looked like.  “None of us has ever seen God,” our pastor answered, launching into the standard response.  But my son was already dancing around – he apparently had more information to share.  “Not even Mary?  How come she doesn’t know?  She’s the mom and God is the dad.  Shouldn’t she know?”  Our pastor managed to complete the discussion and let my son get out of ear shot before breaking into a hardy belly laugh.

Unfortunately, many people would be horrified.  They would gripe.  They would scold.  They would “have a serious talk with that boy’s parents.”

And this, in my not entirely humble opinion, is our problem.  We have completely and utterly lost our sense of humor about way too many things.  We take ourselves far too seriously. I know, I know.  Eternal salvation is serious work.  We’re dealing with souls here and that’s no laughing matter.  But, perhaps it should be – a laughing matter, that is.

After all, Proverbs extolls the benefits of laughter. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (17:22)

The Psalms point out the message that our laughter will send to the world. “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” (126:2)

And one of the great things that He has done is give us the ability to laugh.  He wants us to have joy in our hearts.  He wants us to share this joy with others.

And, I can’t help but believe that he liked to be around people who made him laugh.  After all, in Matthew 19:14, Christ said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  He wanted the children around Him and, as we’ve already covered, children are going to ask irreverent questions.  It’s what they do.

Something tells me that Christ enjoyed a good laugh and, how could our work be more serious than His?

–SueBE

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Have a Mary Little Christmas

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