LIGHTEN UP, REJOICE AND BE GLAD

V. - Miami, Florida
Entered on August 22, 2008
Age Group: 65+

Fifty four years ago, at age sixteen to be exact, I decided to become a minister. Do you know what almost stopped me from following through on that decision? Some of the ministers I knew who acted as if having fun was a sin. That telling a joke was frivolous. That looking super somber was the way to go. That you couldn’t be a Christian and look like you were enjoying it.

I don’t find that attitude as often these days, but ere now and then I still see it in some preachers. In some officers. In some lay people. And when I do, I seldom say it but I always think it, “Lighten up a little. Have you forgotten the admonition to make a joyful noise unto the Lord?

I’m in good company as I always remind myself that it was the Apostle Paul himself who said, “Rejoice, and again I say, rejoice.” And since we Christians pay a great deal of attention to what Paul has to say on other matters I figure we shouldn’t exclude his comments on daily delight.

Even my Jesus said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Blessed are they who frown and fuss.” Nowhere does it say that it is necessary to mentally flagellate yourself until your spiritual bones ache and you have a love affair with misery.

I truly believe that Christ dances with joy when a prodigal come flying home. I take to heart his promise, “Come unto me and I will give you peace.” I wouldn’t mind finding my name written on a Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes but I love it when I read in the book of Luke, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

You know, if I were not a Christian and I met some Christians, I am not sure I would choose to be one, because they have forgotten what the star surrounded angels sang on Jesus birth night, “I bring you good news of great joy.” They certainly didn’t sing, “We bring you terrible news that will make your bed a bed of sorrow.”

Finding and keeping a sense of humor isn’t always easy. There are bosses who indeed seem to have come straight from hell. And people curse at us on the highway. And everyone has down days when they’re tired of livin’ and scared of dyin’ but I’ve always believed that if I stared at a star and let it give me its message I’d be well on my way toward being a good humor man. What message? All around it is darkness but it never notices. It’s too busy making light.