The women walk in from the cold to swap hugs and share hellos. We place Christmas treats on the counters and presents under the tree. Before we officially begin the evening, we pause to pray. And my beautiful friend Kelli includes these words, “God, please receive the joyful praises of our laughter.”
Those words ring in my ears like sweet bells all night as I listen to giggles, chuckles and outright fits of giddiness. These women, the Apples group at my church, know how to have a good time. And as I reflect on it later I realize that, yes, their laughter sure sounded a lot like praise.
Laughter can say, “I remember I’m human and it’s okay because I’m still loved.”
Laughter can say, “Thank you for the friends you’ve given me to share this moment.”
Laughter can say, “God is good and all is well even when life is hard.”
So, friend, let’s give God the joyful praises of our laughter this season. We can laugh when we burn the pie. Laugh when we sit around the table with family. Laugh when we open that crazy present. Laugh when we are messy and imperfect and have our this-is-not-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year moments. Laugh when we think about how God is full of surprises like sending his son as a baby in a manger.
As I walked out the door that evening, sounds of chatter trailed out behind me. I turned back and looked through the window to catch a final glimpses of those smiling faces–all bright like the lights on a tree. And I thought, “Joy to the World indeed.”
p.s. Looking for a stocking stuffer? You’re Made for a God-sized Dream is just the right size!