It has been a while since I have done much skipping. The last time I did so was with my granddaughters. In preparation for this blog, I decided to go outside and skip to remind myself what it felt like! I paid attention to my posture, my facial expression, and my overall feelings. As my shoulders pulled back and my body leaned into the forward motion, an inevitable smile emerged on my face. I couldn’t help it! Skipping and smiling seem to go together. Don’t you think? Any elementary teacher can testify to the laughter and giggles of skipping children. They seem to be full of joy as they skip with not a care in the world.
For some reason the older we get, the less we skip. Too often adults exchange playfulness for seriousness as if this is a requirement for adulthood. Somewhere along the way we are taught to “grow up” and “be mature” as if playfulness is considered childish. As a result, we become responsible adults while our lives are void of some joyful skipping!
I know this isn’t everyone. I have always envied adults who have retained their “inner” child. Maybe you are one of them! This got me to wondering about Jesus. Did He laugh? Did He have fun? Did He ever do a little skipping of His own? We often associate skipping with childhood, and the Bible is pretty silent on this time in Jesus’ life. I’m sure theologians, pastors, and average people like me have tried to imagine what Jesus was like. Would you believe some have even predicted his Enneagram number?
When I read about Jesus in the Gospels, there is no question people were attracted to Him. Some of this was due to the healings He performed, but there were a host of reasons why people flocked to Him. For example, He was compassionate and loving (Matthew 9:36, Matthew 14:14, John 15:12-13), and He had a strong desire for people to experience peace and joy (John 16:33, John 16:24). This surely drew people to Him. No doubt there was much more to Jesus than any of us will ever comprehend.
As someone who loves to love on children, I get emotional when I read this description of Jesus.
And He took the children [one by one] in His arms and blessed them [with kind, encouraging words], placing His hands on them. Mark 10:16
We all know children. What child is drawn to or wants to be carried around by a curmudgeon? No child does! Can’t you see Jesus hugging, smiling, and laughing with them? I am certain this was true of His countenance; in fact, Jesus was even accused by the Pharisees of being too joyful (Luke 7:34)! I don’t want to take too many liberties here, but the very fact that humans have a sense of humor indicates that Jesus does, too. After all, we are made in His image.
Can you imagine a life without laughter? I certainly can’t. Even those in dire circumstances have known seasons of joy. Jesus had a serious mission to accomplish in this world, but He was not one to be somber all the time. There is no verse in the Bible that says, “Jesus laughed,” but we know that He empathized with us completely and felt all of our emotions. Everyone laughs and appreciates good humor. To say that Jesus never expressed joy through laughter is akin to denying His full humanity. Jesus surely enjoyed a good laugh now and then!
When Jesus said in John 10:10, “…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows),” I have to think He modeled what that looked like. We are all called to be imitators of Christ (I John 2:6), and that includes enjoying life! There is so much to be joyful about in the Christian life. As believers, we may focus on the joy of the Lord that is experienced as we serve others, read our Bibles, and pray. However, let’s not forget to enjoy the small blessings of life along the way. We should delight and participate in the pleasures God offers.
Perhaps skipping is not for you, although I dare you to go out and skip down your driveway! Regardless, give yourself permission to fully enjoy life this summer. Over the next few weeks, smile more, laugh more, skip more, and rejoice in His goodness.
When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!