Last night, I was up later than normal chatting with friends and surfing YouTube. I found some videos of Harry Potter while searching set to a Power Rangers theme with various figures in the books playing the parts of different rangers. I then found one of Harry Potter and Smallville together. To find Jonathan Kent talking about the Dark Lord returning was quite hilarious.
As I went about my day today, from time to time, these videos would pop into my mind and I would laugh. I find it easy to laugh at many things. I can hear the same joke over and over again and enjoy it. I can watch Veruca Salt go down the garbage chute endlessly in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and never get bored.
Have we ever thought about what the world would be like without laughter and humor? It’s really such a great gift when we take the time to consider it. Have we considered how amazing it is that we find some things funny and that we laugh at them? How would our lives be different if we could not?
Yet what is this laughter? What are we recognizing? Could it be the kind of place the world is? I look at those videos and think “Harry Potter and Power Rangers don’t really go together,” yet there they are. It doesn’t seem to fit, but in a way, it does, and it makes you laugh. It’s not natural, but at the same time, it seems completely natural.
There are some ways it’s just funny to play with reality. It’s funny because reality is funny and God gave us the gift of creativity. God gave us the gift to play with his creation and this includes other ideas from the creation. No doubt, people want to show off their video-making skills on YouTube with such videos, but they also want to make people laugh.
Why laugh though? To forget the world? I don’t think so. I think true laughter is that which lets you embrace the world. It might help you forget your own world that you’re blowing out of proportion at the time though. Laughing takes you out of yourself and I believe then, places you close to the divine.
There’s no doubt, the world is a funny place. Go look at the animal creation. God even tells Job to do that. Try to read his description of the ostrich and not laugh. Comedian Bill Cosby is highly regarded as a funny man with some people I talk to. Every time they agree he’s funny, I ask them to tell me a joke he’s told. Bill Cosby doesn’t tell jokes. He tells the truth, and it’s funny.
In fact, what we believe is pretty funny at times. G.K. Chesterton once said truth must be stranger than fiction for we have made fiction to suit ourselves. If the Christian account was not true, I do not think we could make it up. People who think such really don’t understand the story. We can picture the mystery religions speaking about dying and rising gods, but do we see any reason to think that they thought this happened at a point in the space-time history? They might look at that idea if we asked and say “What? A god permanently living here for a time and coming in the form of a baby? Are you crazy?”
Yet this is exactly what we say happened. In fact, I have been told that in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, they tell jokes on Easter Sunday to celebrate. Why? Because the resurrection was God’s big joke on Satan. It was the ultimate punchline. The one enthroned in Heaven did indeed laugh at that point.
And isn’t that where all laughter begins? Doesn’t it find its root in the heart of God? God laughs more than we do for God is never bored. It is only we humans are bored. I agree with Kreeft that boredom is a far more serious problem than modern man realizes today. We get bored and God doesn’t. If we are to reflect him, then we should eliminate boredom from our lives.
How to do that? Enjoy his gift. Laugh. Go read a joke book or some comics. Go on YouTube and watch some videos. Then again, if you want to laugh really loud, go look in the mirror sometime and really think about what a strange and odd creature that you are. Yet that strange and odd creature is one God delights in, and he laughs, not to mock, but out of joy.