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Laughter: God’s gift for a COVID Christmas

Ruth is still laughing at me.  With good cause.  When I couldn’t find my phone recently, I had Ruth call me on her phone.  Within seconds, I was faintly hearing her personalized ring tone (a lovely, lilting harp trill).  My phone had to be near, but where?  Under couch cushions, maybe, or papers on my desk?  In a drawer? 

 F. LaGard Smith
Courtesy of F. LaGard Smith

It didn’t take long to realize that, wherever I would move, the sound would move, so it had to be on me, right?  But, both of us checked and double-checked my pockets, and still no phone.  Six calls later and we’re having no luck.  Finally, Ruth says, “Go into the bedroom, and I’ll stay in your office.”  Alone in the bedroom, I can hear the muffled ring more clearly than before.  Down by the floor.  Down at my feet.  At which point, I suddenly realized the phone was…in my shoe!  That’s right.  In my laced-up shoe!

As Ruth bent over with peals of laughter, I recalled thinking earlier that my right foot didn’t seem quite normal that morning.  But since my feet always feel weird, I kept hobbling around without giving it much thought.  Of course, you’re probably wondering how the phone fit into my shoe.  Easy.  It’s an old iPhone 5, not the grownup size you probably have.  And what was it doing in my shoe in the first place, you ask?  Okay, so I was carrying a bunch of things downstairs, including my shoes and my phone.  Not wanting to drop my phone, I did what any reasonable person would do — slipped it into my right shoe for safe-keeping!  Laugh all you want.  Anyone can do a thumb dial, but how many can do a toe dial! 

However much we might wish that the maddening COVID menace would disappear tomorrow, it doesn’t look like it’s going away overnight despite the arrival of a much-welcomed vaccine.  And now, just when we crave being with family and friends the most, “I’ll be home for Christmas” takes on a whole new meaning.  For such a dispiriting time, it seems we could all use some comic relief.  Nothing ponderous.  Nothing controversial.  Just a bit of light-hearted levity.

While the Bible is chock-full of serious messages, there are delightful, humorous highlights to be found as well.  Maybe it’s just me, but I laugh every time I read 2 Kings 13:21 — “Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb.  When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet!”  A picture worth a thousand smiles! 

Another smile comes to my face when King Saul goes to the witch of Endor and asks that she contact Samuel’s spirit, which, of course, she has no power to do.  So, no one is more surprised than the witch herself when Samuel’s spirit suddenly appears!  A hilarious Kodak moment, matched only by the moment when Haman, the evil villain in Esther, gets his comeuppance!   

Until we can safely see the backside of COVID-19, Proverbs 18:14 is a good reminder that “The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?”  And, vaccine or no vaccine, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Prov. 17:22).  So, do yourself a favor this Christmas and turn off the gloomy news.  If only by FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom, enjoy a laugh or two with your family and friends.  And if you come across something really hilarious, give me a call.  Just allow enough rings for me to take off my shoe!

F. LaGard Smith is a retired law school professor (Pepperdine, Liberty, and Faulkner law schools), and is the author of some 35 books, touching on law, faith, and social issues.  He is the compiler and narrator of The Daily Bible (the NIV and NLT arranged in chronological order), and posts weekly devotionals on Facebook, drawing spiritual applications from current events.

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