Friday, June 16, 2017

The birth of Laughter

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 21:1-21

 "And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him — whom Sarah bore to him — Isaac....And Sarah said, 'God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.'" Genesis 21:3,6
Have you noticed how many times laughter bubbles up in the story of Isaac?

Abraham's reaction to God's reassurance that he would have a child by Sarah — a child that would be the first in a line of descendants that would one day become a nation— was: "Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed..." (Genesis 17:17).

When the angel visitor reiterated that message to Abraham, Sarah, who "...had passed the age of childbearing" overheard their conversation and "...laughed within herself" (Genesis 18:11-12).

After Isaac was born, Sarah said, "God has made me laugh and all who hear with laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6).

Is it any wonder they called the baby Isaac, which means laughter?

My dictionary's first definition of laugh not only describes the physical act of laughing but also names some of the reasons we laugh: "To produce the characteristic explosive or inarticulate sounds, facial expression and other physical manifestations expressive of merriment, elation, derision, discomposure etc."

Robert Hemley on the topic of what makes something laughable says:
"Unpredictability. We laugh at what surprises us...we laugh because we have been shaken out of our normal perceptions" - Robert Hemley in "Relaxing the Rules of Reason" from How to Write Funny, p. 15.

"Shaken out of normal perceptions" — that would describe Abraham and Sarah. Who would blame 100-year-old Abraham or menopausal Sarah for laughing when God told them they would parent a son? However, their initial laughter of skepticism, cynicism, even derision turned to that of sheer joy when this most unlikely thing happened.

Isaac was the beginning of the nation from which Jesus was born--a birth that was also full of unpredictability. That the creator of the universe would shrink Himself to embryo size to be born in a barn?! Our incredulous laughter at the unlikelihood of such a thing turns to the laughter of elation as we ponder why He did it (John 3:16).

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming as a baby, born to humble parents, in the lowliest place. Thank You for what Your coming means to me. It is beyond laughing incredible! Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Drive-Thru

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