A Child Named Laughter

  • 16 December 2016
  • Keith Reed

Abraham, Sarah, 3 strangersI don’t anyone who would classify the Bible as a comedy, but many of its pages are filled with laughter.

For instance, God chooses a man named Abram (which means father) as his starting point for making a new nation. This sounds like an excellent choice except that his wife is barren. And as the years go by, God’s promise is threatened even further. When God decides to give new names to the white-haired couple, the situation becomes so ironic that it reaches comedic levels. The man is now called “Father of many” (Abraham) and his wife’s new name becomes “Noblewoman” (Sarah). Each of them laugh when they’re told they’ll have a son within the next year and I can’t help but think that I would have done the same thing. The comedy reaches its apex when God tells them to name their boy “Laughter” (Isaac). 

I used to think that Isaac got his name because his parents couldn’t control their giggles, but God often gives names as a testimony for what He will do. I can’t imagine Abraham laughing as he prepared to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22:1-19), but perhaps it was Laughter’s name that helped the old man remember God’s promise. No matter how much our present circumstances may threaten God’s promises, they do not fully negate what He said He will do. 

Many years later, a pair of unsuspecting couples would share in the laughter that comes from seeing God do the impossible. The births of John (“Jehovah is a gracious giver”) and Jesus (“Jehovah is salvation”) proved yet again that nothing is too difficult for God (Genesis 18:14).

When we witness God do the impossible, the most fitting things to do are to laugh and to worship.

Question: What has God recently done in your life that has caused you to laugh and to worship?

Keith Reed is the Associate Director of MinistryLift at MB Seminary.  

Seven Ideas for Keeping Christ Central at Christmas

  • 18 December 2014
  • Randy Wollf

Mary and Joseph travelingI love the food that we eat at Christmas. I love hanging out with family, playing games and just having good conversation. I enjoy exchanging gifts. Christmas lights bring a smile to my face.

Yet, I find that these Christmas trappings can sometimes distract me from the most important part of Christmas. Jesus, God’s Son and the One who would become the Savior of the world, was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Jesus Christ is the reason for celebrating Christmas.

Here are seven ideas for keeping Christ central during the Christmas season:

1. Read one of the Gospels or a Christmas Devotional

I am currently reading the Gospel of Luke as I go through the Christmas season. Some years, I have read a Christmas devotional. Focusing on Christ during my devotional times in December helps me to prepare my heart and mind for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

2. Celebrate Advent in Your Home

Early on in our marriage, one of our family members made us an advent wreath. Each year, we anticipate celebrating Jesus’ birth by lighting the advent candles on the four Sunday evenings before Christmas and on Christmas Eve. Our kids love this time of singing Christmas carols and putting our focus back on Christ.

3. Join the Advent Conspiracy

A couple years ago, our church encouraged people to join the advent conspiracy. The four tenets of the conspiracy are to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. As a family, we decided to be more generous with those in need and to give less to those who already have so much (like us). We send out Christmas shoeboxes through Samaritan’s Purse and purchase animals, water filters, mosquito nets, and other items that help people who are struggling. We also look for people and causes closer to home that we can support a bit more at Christmas.

4. Recognize the Spiritual Significance of some Christmas Trappings