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  • Shawn Thornton

Grateful for Laughter

Monday - November 23rd

Day 23: Attitude of Gratitude

Scripture to Read Today: Psalm 126:1-6

We were filled with laughter,

and we sang for joy.

And the other nations said,

"What amazing things the LORD

has done for them."

Psalm 126:2 NLT


"Laughter is the best medicine in the world!" Most of us can attest to the truth of this quote credited to 20th-century comedian Milton Berle. Throughout the challenges of my childhood, our family turned to sit-coms as a source of escape from the realities of living in a home deeply impacted by my mom's traumatic brain injury (TBI).


During my childhood years, my Dad encouraged us to watch sitcoms of the 60s, 70s, and 80s like Gilligan's Island, Green Acres, MASH, Happy Days, Three’s Company, Growing Pains, and Cheers. He didn't let us watch popular family TV dramas like Little House on the Prairie, Eight is Enough, or The Waltons. Once my maternal grandmother (Nana) asked Dad why he let us watch sitcoms with questionable morals and not shows like Little House on the Prairie with solid family values, Dad's answer was simple. "Life is hard enough; we don't need other people's problems. We need to laugh."


While his moral filtering might have been off a bit, he made a solid and profound point. Laughing together about a guy and his castaway friends stuck on a deserted island did bring us relief. Laughing as a family about a know-it-all postman in a bar or a family and a bunch of teen friends in the 1960s was good medicine for us.


Living in the Los Angeles area for more than a decade has allowed me to thank some of the people who made us laugh together as a family during my childhood. Michael Warren served as an Elder when I first arrived at Calvary. Michael wrote for Happy Days and created Family Matters and its iconic character Urkel. Both Kirk Cameron and Scott Baio have become friends of mine. Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island, attended a funeral I officiated a couple of years ago.


When bumped up to first-class on a flight from LA to Chicago five years ago, I ended up sitting next to Shelley Long from Cheers. I know it sounds like I am dropping names here, but I thanked each for being a ministry of laughter to my family and many other families who needed to laugh. Most of them were surprised that I said their part in making us laugh was a gift from God to my family and me.


God blesses us with people who help us laugh. Comedians and sitcoms use humor and, whether they recognize it or not, they provide a respite from the realities of life. No one has to tell you that life has its challenges. Since Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden, humanity has known seasons of suffering interrupted by seasons of joy. Part of the curse for sin is the struggle of life.


Laughter, humor, and smiles are all gifts from God. Psalm 126 relays the joy and laughter that come as God blesses us in the middle of life's struggles. Verse two of the Psalm says, "We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, 'What amazing things the LORD has done for them.'"


Find ways to laugh. Bring laughter into your home. Look for the joy and blessings God gives you in the middle of your troubles and trials. Maybe you should be a little more discerning in what you let your kids watch compared to what my Dad did in our home. Enjoy dramas. But find ways to smile and laugh with those you love!


Be grateful for the smiles, laughter, and joy God brings into your life! Laughter is a gift from the God who created it!


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