In the typical day of atonement, ancient Israel met in a holy convocation and afflicted their souls before God. They spent the day in prayer, fasting, and deep searching of hearts. Every sin was to be confessed or else they would be cut off from among the people. When the high priest went into the Holy of Holies to meet with God, the worshippers in the court trembled for they knew that if there was any unconfessed sin within the camp, the high priest would be struck dead for sin could not exist in the presence of a Holy God. Indeed, it was a solemn time. It was a day of judgment.

Likewise, today, we are living in solemn times, just before the return of Jesus Christ. As with Israel of old, we are to afflict our souls and search deep within our hearts and confess every sin and fault that are harbored there. This is not a time for levity and trifles for we are nearing the borders of Heavenly Canaan, and we would soon meet face to face with a Holy God.

Though the times are solemn, life must go on. Sometimes in the process of living our lives--interacting with people--young children, the elderlies--getting involved with the various activities of life, and even in our worship of God, we fumble things up. We look at our blunders and double over with laughter. We wonder if the angels are laughing with us.

~ ~ ~

It must have been a long, hard day for Old Brother Jake for he was asleep during the evening service. The preacher had started the first in a series of talks on the Parables of Jesus when without warning, the electricity went out. The sanctuary was pitch black. The preacher warned the congregation to stay put and he would continue to preach. Hopefully the light would come back on. After a few minutes of preaching, old Brother Jake woke up engulfed in blackness. Terrified, he screamed: I'm going blind, I'm going blind! Help me! Help me!

~ ~ ~

The little boy went home from Sunday School and told his mother about Moses and the Red Sea crossing. 'Moses got behind the enemy lines,'  the child said dramatically, 'and he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge across the Red Sea. Moses' people crossed over. When his spies told him a corps of Egyptian tanks were about to cross the bridge, he got on his walkie-talkie and ordered his air force to blow up the bridge. The air force blew it up and Moses' people were saved.'

'Are you sure that's the story the Sunday School teacher told you?'  the mother asked.

'No,'  said the boy, 'but you wouldn't believe the way the teacher told it!'

--The above was taken from an Internet source.

~ ~ ~

Bonnie's son worked in the produce section of a grocery store where he was approached by a woman asking for half a head of lettuce. 'My son said he almost went bonkers and dashed back behind those flip-floppy doors to consult with his manager.'

He told his manager rather loudly that there was a 'first class nut' out there who wanted half a head of lettuce. As he and his manager walked back out into the store, there stood the little lady, who'd obviously heard the whole conversation.

Bonnie's brilliant son bent down, put his arm around the lady's shoulder and said to his manager, 'And this is the sweet, precious lady who wants the other half!'

~ ~ ~

Cathy's husband returned from buying diapers without a coupon, and announced that it was time to potty train their two-year-old son, Jacob, right now.

'Jacob is too young for this,'  Cathy patiently explained. 'He doesn't have a clue what to do with a potty.'

Naturally, this became a challenge for her husband, who marched into the bathroom, Jacob in tow. Cathy, meanwhile, was outside the room, on her knees, with her ear pressed firmly against the keyhole.

Hubby David discussed the potty and paper with Jacob in typical, no-nonsense fashion. Cathy must have collapsed with laughter when David suddenly said authoritatively, 'Jake, that is not a hat.'

--The two items above were taken from the book, Help! I'm Laughing and I Can't Get Up  by Liz Curtis Higgs.

~ ~ ~

Researchers have found that there are benefits to be derived from a good hearty laugh--the laugh that comes from deep inside. Here are the benefits: Laughter is a natural pain reducer and increases our ability to cope with pain. It beats oxycontin, doesn't it? Laughter massages our internal organs. It exercises our facial muscles. It improves circulation. (If you don't know already, perfect circulation means perfect health.) Laughter oxygenates the body, and it stimulates the immune system.

It's a wonder we do not laugh more often.

~ ~ ~

Kim from Louisiana learned a hard but funny lesson on her very first job as a registered nurse. 'I'd had my three-day paperwork orientation and was now set to start on the ward. The hospital had given me a red ribbon to tape to my name tag to indicate, Hey, don't count on me for anything, I'm new.'

The charge nurse's first words to me were, 'That red ribbon doesn't mean anything, you're taking a patient.'


She gave Kim an elderly lady in her nineties who needed total care. The woman wasn't doing well, but the family wanted full measures taken to resuscitate her if she should stop breathing. I must have looked really scared because Myrene, the LPN on duty, leaned over and said, 'It'll be okay.'

About this time the maintenance man stuck his head in and announced that the call-light system was being repaired and couldn't be used. I was really starting to get upset because that system was the way to indicate an emergency when a nurse needed help. I asked Myrene, 'What should I do if I have problems?'

Myrene answered, 'Throw a bedpan in the hallway.'

So off Kim went with her big metal bedpan to take care of her patient. I thought I'd start with something safe and began to give her a bed bath. I finished the front. So far, so good. I turned her on her side to bathe her back, and she suddenly took one big breath, shuddered, and stopped breathing!

I watched and watched and still no breath. With adrenaline pumping, fueled by fear, I threw the bedpan out the door.

Bad timing.

The elderly woman's doctor was walking through the door just as I let go. The bedpan bounced off his temple, and he crumpled out cold in the doorway. The rest of the nurses had arrived with the code cart. They hauled the doctor into the hallway, left him there, and tried to resuscitate my patient.

All I could do was stand in the corner and sob because I knew I had just lost my job!

My patient, rest her soul, died. The doctor ended up in the hospital overnight with a hairline skull fracture and concussion. Meanwhile, as we were walking down the hallway, my mentor, Myrene, put her arm around my shoulder and said, 'I was just joking!'

For months I couldn't carry a bedpan anywhere without people yelling, 'Incoming!'

--Taken from the book, Help! I'm Laughing and I Can't Get Up  by Liz Curtis Higgs.

~ ~ ~

With immaturity and limited vocabulary and knowledge of the world in general, coupled with vivid imagination, young children sometimes come up with the most colorful portrait of the world.

A little boy drew the Christmas story with Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus. What's unique about it was that Joseph was holding a long string with a black dot at the end. Puzzled, his teacher asked him what the string was all about which he proudly told: The string is a leash and the black dot is a flea. Joseph was told in a dream to take the babe and flee to Egypt.

A child retelling a Bible lesson to another child: Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients.

A Sunday School teacher asked her class, 'Does anyone here know what we mean by sins of omission?'  A small girl replied: 'Aren't those the sins we should have committed, but didn't?'

--The three items above were taken from an Internet source.

My friend Veronica confessed that when she was a little girl, she had thought that the song was Swing Low, Sweet Cheerios.

I remember when I was little that I asked my mother: Why does the mother steal her child?  We had just finished singing the second stanza of Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me  where it says: As a mother stills her child...

Here's two more from an Internet source:

The wife of Noah was Joan of Ark.

The wife of Lot was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night.

One day, Gloria, my voice teacher at the Guam Academy of Music, gave me a beautiful Siamese cat named Katrina. Katrina was my first cat. I loved that cat. My brother David's kids (they lived next door) would come over almost every day to love on that cat. They had never seen a cat before, and they were on Cloud 9. One day I was at their house, and my four-year old niece Tina looked out the window and saw a black and white cat in their yard. All excited, she exclaimed: Auntie Ling, Look, Katrina is outside, and she's changed her clothes.

~ ~ ~

Have you ever noticed that some people laugh so funny that you laugh at their laughter instead of at whatever had triggered the laughter in the first place? When my nephew Richie was a toddler, he laughed so funny especially when tickled that we would all double over in laughter till tears were streaming down our faces. Click on the left button below to hear a giggle of a toddler that sounds so much like Richie when he was little. Click on the right button to stop it.

There's a time for everything under the sun we're told. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 say: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. . . A time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."

In these next two stories you will find that a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn seamlessly blended.

At my father's funeral, God bless his soul, my siblings and I gathered with fifty other mourners at the graveside. As the bugle blew taps, four young military men solemnly folded the American flag.

Or tried to.

These men could not fold the flag right! The stars of the flag were folding under, not on top. On the third attempt, my family and I broke out into uncontrolled laughter. However, the people behind us thought that we had broken out into uncontrolled sobbing because in an attempt to control our laughing, we had covered our faces.

Meanwhile, the poor young military men did not even crack a smile, which made us laugh even harder. The fourth attempt was their last. I have not seen four young men disappear from a scene so fast.

~ ~ ~

Laughter is exactly what filled the air at Lucille's funeral. Shirley from Indiana loved her 'adopted' grandmother Lucille, who was over ninety and nearly blind. As she talked to her on the phone one morning, she heard a man's voice in the background.

'Oh, if you have company, you can call me later,'  Shirley suggested.

Lucille laughed, 'No, no that's just Sam. He was here late last night, so I had him spend the night.'

'You did what?'

Through her chuckles, Lucille explained, 'Sam is my new talking clock.'  Sam-the-clock was her constant companion in and out of the hospital. She carried Sam at her elbow at all times. Upon her death the family decided to put Sam in the casket nestled in Lucille's arms as he had been for the last several weeks of her life.

At her funeral service, the pastor had just said, 'Let us pray,'  when Sam spoke in his deep, husky voice, 'It is now 11:00 a.m.'

Shirley confesses, 'The room was filled with uncontrollable laughter instead of grief, exactly as Lucille would have wanted it.'

--Taken from the book, Help! I'm Laughing and I Can't Get Up  by Liz Curtis Higgs.

~ ~ ~

At California's Loma Linda University Medical Center, Lee Berk, assistant research professor, and Stanley Tan, Endocrinologist, and their colleagues, are in the lead in understanding the physiology of merriment. We now know that there are two types of stress: good stress and bad stress. Laughter is a form of good stress, or stress in reverse. Research on stress has shown that bad stress suppresses your immune system. Drs. Tan and Berk wanted to find out if a form of good stress, or laughter, would improve the immune system.

They studied groups of average adults and found that both arms of the immune system got a boost out of laughter. Subjects faced a solid hour of induced merriment from videos of comedians, while a control group sat quietly out of earshot. These doctors took blood samples at 10 minute intervals before, during and after the laughter workout.

They found that humor and exercise trigger similar physiological processes. Like conditioned athletes, the laughter group showed increases in the good hormones --such as endorphins and neurotransmitters -- and decreased levels of the stress hormones -- cortisol and adrenaline. Laughter is one of the body's safety valves, a counter balance to tension. When we release that tension, the elevated levels of the body's stress hormones drop back to normal, thereby allowing our immune systems to work more effectively.

Cells which produce anti-bodies increase in number, T-cells which combat viruses are activated and ready for battle. Our natural killer cells increase in number and activity. All this occurs as a direct result of laughter!

Dr. Tan states it all quite eloquently: "All these neuro-hormones act like an orchestra, each instrument makes a particular note. Laughter makes the entire orchestra more melodious or balanced. In other words, laughter brings a balance to all the components of the immune system."

--Taken from an article entitled, Laughter is the Best Medicine.

Proverbs 17:22 says: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.  In Job 8:20-21 we read these words: Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man...till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.

~ ~ ~

The Communion Service is probably one of the most sacred of all the ordinances that we participate in. Yet this is one area where human foibles are often manifested that have caused laughter as can be seen in the following:

Doris from Texas remembers a recent Christmas Eve service where Communion was served in a special way. Rather than just passing the elements down the pews, the deacons were stationed in the aisles. Participants got up when they were ready and collected their 'crackers and grape juice,' as Doris calls it.

I reached in the plate for my cracker and ended up with three stuck together. I returned to my seat with juice and crackers in hand, not knowing that my daughter, Jennifer, had told my husband not to get a cracker because 'Mom had them.'

Doris popped her three-fold cracker in her mouth, followed by the juice, It's always a very meaningful time of reflection, made extra special on Christmas Eve.  Then I looked at my daughter, who had an expression of horror on her face because I had eaten all the crackers. We got tickled and had to turn away from each other so we wouldn't laugh.

Meanwhile, my husband has told everyone how I shortchanged their Lord's Supper. He said it would've been too embarrassing to get up and get a cracker, since he didn't want anyone thinking he needed seconds.

Speaking of Communion, I had a hard time not spraying my tiny cup of grape juice all over the pew in front of me one Sunday. I'd invited several of my coworkers to visit my church that particular day because I was singing a solo. It seemed a natural way to share my faith with them and let them be embraced by our warm, loving church fellowship.

One friend from work, Jack, was really made welcome that morning I was sitting in the front row, preoccupied with getting mentally prepared for my solo, when Jack came in the sanctuary and found a seat at the end of the last pew.

Since our church is so big, with so many new faces, it's hard to know who's been around awhile and who's new or visiting. Apparently the deacons were short a man or two that first service and were desperate for help serving the elements.

Someone leaned down and whispered in Jack's ear, 'Could you help us serve Communion?'

'I don't attend here,'  Jack informed them.

'We don't mind, if you don't. We could really use your help.'

In marched Jack with the other deacons, and of course, they started at the first pew. I was busy reviewing the words to my song, oblivious to the Communion crisis going on in the back of the sanctuary, and looked up to see my own guest, Jack, handing me the elements with a huge grin on his face!

Do you suppose the Lord was laughing, too?

--Taken from the book, Help! I'm Laughing and I Can't Get Up  by Liz Curtis Higgs.

~ ~ ~

More on Communion: For years, the Communion Bread was baked by the Head Deaconess or her assistant. But for this particular Communion, a member of our church who was a baker, was asked to bake the Communion Bread. He gladly obliged. On Communion Day, we were all surprised. Instead of the usual bite-size, thin crackers we were accustomed to, we had miniature bread loaves. Stifled laughter was heard here and there in the sanctuary.

At another time one of the sisters baked the Communion Bread but forgot to put oil in it, a necessary ingredient both in the spiritual and physical sense. Spiritual because oil represents the Holy Spirit. Physical because oil is necessary for good baking sense, resulting in tender, tasty wafers. Without the oil, our Communion wafers turned out hard as bricks. I had good teeth but was struggling to chew this hard rock of a bread. Then I thought of my husband John with dentures and wondered how he was dealing with it. Suddenly, I started giggling and couldn't stop even though I pinched myself hard several times in an attempt to stop the giggle at a most inappropriate time. I learned later that John had put the Communion Bread in his coat pocket to eat it later.

~ ~ ~

Laughter can be a healing balm as Mary and Bobbie in the following stories found out. Mary took her ninety-something mother into the hospital for a minor ailment.

'I'm thinking about changing doctors,'  the elderly woman announced. Why, Mother?'  a surprised Mary asked. 'I've doctored with this man for forty years, and I'm not a bit better!'

~ ~ ~

The Lord designed humor not only for our physical well-being, but for our emotional and spiritual health as well. That's exactly how Mary sees it. 'I believe laughter is a healing gift, for the emotions and the spirit. It feels like a cleansing internal bath to rinse out pain, anger, and self-pity.'

Bobbie from South Australia agrees, 'Humour has saved my life. Being able to look for a laugh at the everyday quirky, bizarre, and madcap events going on around me--and which I have sometimes created--has provided a healing balm as I've battled grief and mental illness and worked through to healing and peace. And I'm still laughing!'

--Taken from the book, Help! I'm Laughing and I Can't Get Up  by Liz Curtis Higgs.

~ ~ ~

A Sunday school teacher challenged her children to take some time on Sunday afternoon to write a letter to God. They were to bring back their letter the following Sunday. Here's the result that I'm sure the angels must have laughed:

Dear God, We had a good time at church today. Wish You could have been there.

Dear God, In Sunday school they told us what you do. Who does it when you are on vacation? Jane  P.S. How did you know you were God?

Dear God, I read the bible. What does begat mean? Nobody will tell me. Love, Alison

Dear God, Are you really invisible or is that just a trick? Lucy

Dear God, Did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident? Norma

Dear God, Instead of Letting people die and having to make new ones why don't you just keep the ones you got now? Jane

Dear God, Who draws the lines around the countries? Nan

God, It's O.K. that you made different religions but don't you get mixed up sometimes. Arnold

Dear God, I would like to know why all the things you said are in red? Joanne

Dear God, Is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business? Donny

Dear God, My Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go? Love Dennis

Dear God, I am American what are you? Robert

Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy. Joyce

Dear God, How come you didn't invent any new animals lately? We still have just all the old ones. Johnny

--Taken from an Internet source.

~ ~ ~

When I retired from my work two years ago, my friend and co-worker Janet, who was also retiring, gave me as a gift some hard-bound books by best-seller author Patsy Clairmont. One of the books was titled: God Uses Cracked Pots.  In this book, Patsy stated that we are all like cracked pots. Picture an empty pitcher with a network of cracks down the front. Now, imagine that pitcher filled with light and a lid put on the top. Where does the light shine through? The cracks. That is the same way the Lord's light shines through our lives. Not so much by what we do well naturally, but by what He must do in us supernaturally for it to be so.

Here's a chapter in God Uses Cracked Pots entitled Lookin' Good

I remember the day well. It was one of those times when everything goes right. I took a shower and fixed my hair. It went just the way I wanted it to, as it so seldom does. I pulled on my new pink sweater, giving me added color, since I need all the help I can get. I pulled on my gray slacks and my taupe heels.

I checked the mirror and thought, Lookin good!

Since it was a cool Michigan day, I slipped on my gray trench coat with pink on the lapels. I was color-coded from head to toe.

When I arrived in downtown Brighton, where I intended to take care of some errands, I was surprised to find heavy traffic. Brighton is a small town, but it has a large health food store. Usually, I can park right in front and run in.

But today business was so brisk I had to park two blocks away. When your attitude is right, and it's a great day, however, inconveniences and interruptions are no big deal.

I thought, I'll just bounce down the street in time to the sunshine.

I got out of the car, bounced down the street, crossed the road and entered the store.

As I headed toward the back of the store, I caught my reflection in the glass doors of the refrigeration system. It reaffirmed I was lookin' good. While enjoying my mirrored self, I noticed something was following me. I turned and realized it was my panty hose!

I remembered the night before when I had done a little Wonder Woman act and taken panty hose and slacks off in one fell swoop. This morning I put on new panty hose and must have pushed the old hose through when I pulled on my slacks.

I believe they made their emergence as I bounced down the street in time to the sunshine. I remembered the truck driver who stopped his truck to let me cross. As I looked up, he was laughing, and I thought, Oh, look! The whole world is happy today.

So I waved. Little did I realize how much I was waving.

"I assumed I had reached some amount of maturity by this time in my life, but I can honestly say that when I looked back and saw that...that...dangling participle, the thought that crossed my mind was I am going to die!

I knew they were my panty hose because the right foot was securely wrapped around my right ankle. I knew it was secure because I tried to shake the thing off and pretend I had picked it up in the street.

It's amazing to me that we gals buy these things in flat little packages, we wear them once, and they grow. Now I had a mammoth handful of panty hose and no place to pitch them. The shelves were crowded with groceries, and my purse was too small and full, so I stuffed them in my coat pocket. They became a protruding hump on my right hip.

I decided to never leave that store. I knew all the store owners in town, and I figured that by now they would have all their employees at the windows waiting for a return parade.

Finally I realized I'd have to leave. I slipped out the door, down the street, into my car and off for home.

All the way home I said, "I'll never tell anyone I did this, I'll never tell anyone I did this, I'LL NEVER TELL ANYONE I DID THIS!"

I made it home and got out of the car. My husband was in the yard raking.

I screamed, "Do you know what I did?!"

He was so proud to know his wife had gone through town dragging her underwear. I told him I thought we should move--to another state--in the night. He thought that was extreme and suggested instead that for a while I could walk ten feet behind him. After thinking that through, we decided it should be ten feet in front of him so he could check me out.

If you have ever done anything to embarrass yourself, you know that the more you try not to think about it, the more it comes to you in living color. As I walked through my house, the replay of what I did came to me again and again.

At last I cried out to the Lord, "You take ashes and create beauty, but can You do anything with panty hose?"

Almost immediately I realized that I had dragged a lot worse things through my life than panty hose. I dragged guilt, anger, fear and shame. I was reminded by the Lord that those were far more unattractive and distracting than my hose, for they prevented others from seeing His presence and His power in my life. I needed to resolve the pain in my past that I might live more fully today and look forward to my tomorrows.

~ ~ ~

In conclusion, even though we live in solemn times with the need to always have our hearts right with God, laughter is inevitable for we are creatures of emotions created by our Heavenly Father with the capacity to love, to laugh, to cry. In many of life's situations, unplanned and unexpected bloopers and blunders happen sometimes at the most inappropriate time and place that cause us even more to double over with laughter until tears flood our faces. Click the start button below and think that in all our bloopers and blunders, it's healing to know that we are not laughing alone. The Lord and the Angels must be laughing with us.

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Laughing Midi