by Mary Johnson, Director,Children's Ministries & All Things Bright & Beautiful

This Church school year, Steve Pope and I are teaching the 5th and 6th grades and our Sunday morning class time includes watching the History Channel's miniseries presentation of The Bible. It is very captivating and we (adults included) are learning so much.

One of the first episodes is the story of Abraham and Sarah and their desperate desire to have a child. God promises them descendants as numerous as the stars in the Heaven. And in their old age, Abraham and Sarah did have a child and named him Isaac which means "laughter."

Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me."

So after watching the portion of the film with this segment, and thinking about how wonderful it is that the name Isaac means laughter, for the next week I made a conscious effort to keep track of how often I hear laughter.

At All Things Bright and Beautiful during the week, it is more like giggles that fill the classrooms. We all know what laughter is and can recognize the emotion it portrays. The Webster's definition is, "to show that you are happy." And while it is certainly possible to be happy when you are by yourself and smile or perhaps giggle, it is my experience that hearty laughter - the from the toes kind - comes in the context of community. Whatever that community might be; family, friends, classmates, colleagues and fellow parishioners.

Taken at a recent family wedding, this photo is of me with three of my five sisters. There is no doubt that we are having a really good laugh. And I can't remember exactly what it was we were laughing at right then. But I do remember that much of the weekend of the wedding was filled with laughter and a whole lot of love.

Scientists have spent centuries studying laughter. One conclusion is that it is a mechanism that every human has: laughter is part of the universal vocabulary. When you consider that throughout the centuries, there have been thousands of languages and hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in the same way. A universal language. A language that goes back to Abraham and Sarah and can be shared today with family, friends, and all of us here at Holy Comforter.

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
Victor Borge