In my late teens, when I first encounter the picture of Jesus laughing, aka The Laughing Christ, it was a revelation to me. Up to that point all of the depictions I had seen were of a dour, often intense, usually European looking Jesus - in my 'illustrated Bible', classic works of art, even movies. To see an image of Jesus laughing brought joy to my heart, it still does! (You can find the story behind the Laughing Christ here - by clicking you open a new window)
So much of my life is filled with laughter, and laughter feels like life. My wife keeps encouraging me to take stand-up comedy lessons as she knows how much I love to see and hear people laugh (my usual response is "Why, am I not funny?"). Laughter, honest, open, full-hearted laughter binds people together, it heals, it refreshes, and sometimes when it is overpowering, it hurts - yet it still feels good. Laughter can be cruel, mocking, condescending - but we can tell the difference between that and life-giving, soul-feeding laughter. Laughter can help give us perspective, it can point out the ridiculousness of things we often think are important, and it can remind us that life is meant to be lived, with joy, and hope, and love. To me, it really is a glimpse of the Divine life.
A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.