Have you gotten the terrible impression that Jesus never smiles–that God isn’t ever happy, doesn’t laugh? If that image of God has lodged in your mind’s eye, then know it was not formed from the Bible. Neither was it from the Spirit of God. Be relieved to know that the Son of God (among His other qualities of limitless character) is infinitely happy!
Certainly, the biblical record is serious. There’s no joking around when it comes to the special, Divine message of the Word of God. But, that is just it. You’ll not find the jokes that our Lord Jesus presumably told written in the pages of Scripture, because that is not the scope of the Bible. However, though the Bible’s scope does not include intimate moments of humor from Christ, it is not to be concluded that Jesus was never light-hearted. If you think otherwise, follow out your reasoning on other biblical characters.
It is not told that Adam or Methuselah joked; but can you honestly believe that they each lived 900 years+ without so much as getting giddy or cracking a smile once? And, after the Flood, don’t you think Noah looked at the Platypus and had a chuckle or two? Can you not imagine that Joseph witnessed someone break wind in the court of Pharaoh at a most inopportune time? Doctors report that humans pass gas 14 times a day on average–ON AVERAGE. I’m just saying chances are good that old Jo got the irony, trying to remain solemn and quiet when your gut is a virtual thunderstorm rolling in. And, what about David? Can’t you see David singing something entertaining to his comrades on a really long night? Somehow, we turn biblical characters into stoics, because they lived a long time ago. We forget they were men of like passions as us (James and Elijah would tell you), and not all the commonalities between people are vices.
Add to the valid realm of imagination-within-reason the fact that the biblical record is full of references to merry making, celebrations, being jovial, or enjoying the company of friends. True, the overarching context of those references is moderation and morality and wisdom. Yet, fun isn’t bad; bad is bad, and God knows our bent toward excess better than we. But, he didn’t mean the world to be hellish in the beginning; and though we’ve made it into nearly that, not every moment is full of tears or fasts or even solemn prayers. That being said, consider for a moment that God really does want your happiness–that it is one of His many gifts to you.
Nature is another one of God’s common gifts to us. Have you never watched chipmunks or otters play? Have you seen penguins and polar bears alike slide down a snow mound, only to mount it again for “one more time”? What about the fact that a cockroach can supposedly survive anything, even decapitation (for a few days). Ok… so that one is a bit frightening. But, Disney’s Pixar picked up on the humor of it in their movie Wall-E–twinkies and cockroaches, that’s right. God certainly gives the gift of happiness and fun and laughter. I’m not saying that God’s job is to make you feel happy all the time. What I am referring to is that there is happiness to life, and that is a common gift from the Great Giver to us all. How simplistic we humans are to think our smiles and laughter originate with us. Are we not in the image of an infinite God and for all His perfect infinitudes, is He not infinitely happy also?
That brings us back to Jesus Himself. He plainly said, “I have come that you might have life and life more abundant.” It was also prophesied by Zecharias (father of John the Baptist) that the Messiah would deliver us from all our enemies so that without fear we may serve him in righteousness all our days.” Need I say that the absence of all enemies, including fear and the sting of death, is a great reason for happiness? Another passage speaks of Jesus Christ that he is anointed with the “Oil of Gladness” above all his fellows. The Oil of Gladness was an element used in ancient festivals to mark the one on whom exceeding joy was wished or acknowledged. It might have been on the bride or groom at a marriage. Or, it could have been poured upon a king at his inauguration. The latter is the occasion for which Jesus is anointed. He “endured the cross, despising the shame for the joy that was set before him.” Now, Jesus is happier than ever! He is exceedingly happy, because he won and ascended to Heaven, far above the enemy’s power. There he gladly awaits the happy day when he will drink the fruit of the vine again with his Bride (the church) in order to celebrate that marriage.
Be mindful that Christ also said (speaking of the then-coming Holy Spirit and preparations for believers’ rooms in Heaven), “These things I say to you so that your joy may be full.” Some people might say, “No, no… Jesus gives us joy, not necessarily happiness. Happiness is circumstantial, but joy is lasting.” I simply respond with a “yes,” and then say, “but since joy is the constant (that which inwardly permits one to be happy), then God gives us joy so that we can be happy sooner than later.” That is God’s way with happiness – sooner than later. For those who look for Christ’s second coming with anticipation, the Bible shares these words of Jesus, “Behold, I come quickly.” Then, he will “wipe away all tears from their eyes,” unless of course, they are happy tears.