“Jesus did not laugh!” was the conviction of my former Seminary Rector, and he was serious about it and had always a sober demeanor to prove it! On the other hand my great uncle priest, who died at 91 years of age, had no qualms about sharing a good laugh or seeking the company of persons with a pronounced sense of humor. I took after my great uncle Fr Saviour, and enjoy having a good laugh.
I don’t know whether Jesus laughed or not, but I would prefer imagining him that he did. Laughter is a human experience after all, and Jesus shared completely our human nature. On the other hand, good humor is a sign of intelligence and wit. It is easy to poke fun on others, or laugh at their shortcomings or mishaps but I do not consider this to be humor. I used to tell my students during the years of my headship that “humor is when we all laugh together not when one of us feels that we are laughing at him or at his expense”!
Like nothing else can, humor allows us see things in a new light: the foolishness of our preoccupations, our hypocrisies and inconsistencies, our tendency to see ourselves as the center of the universe. Used wrongly humor can be cruel or distancing. But in the service of other virtues, humor brings us together and helps us grow.”I have highlighted the three phrases that I like most in this definition since they represent the three characteristics of humor that I think are crucial in the development of a sense of humor. First: learn to laugh first at oneself, this will help one develop a knack of getting the humoristic trait in any situation. An anonymous proverb says it succinctly: “ Don’t take life seriously – it is not permanent!”
Secondly: Humor diffuses the negative emotions that grow out of a reaction to situations. Looking at the bright or lighter side of these situations will diffuse this reaction. A Yiddish proverb states: “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul”.
Thirdly: everybody will join in a laugh, and a sense of humor will always keep good company and binds people together.
An Irish proverb points out, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book”. So stay healthy and enjoy a good laugh!