Welcome to the 25 Days of Giving. Each day we’ll focus on a different way you can teach your kids to give to others. If you missed the start of this series, you can find it here. Put the focus on giving instead of getting at Christmas this year because Jesus was a gift to us. Join in the fun by reading each day, then posting in the comments ways that you help your kids give to others at Christmas. Don’t forget to share this series with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Last week was tough. It was a week of mourning the loss of my grandma, yet a week of celebrating who she was. There were a lot of tears shed, yet a lot of laughter shared as we remembered the good moments.
Laughter is a gift. It makes our hearts happy. It makes a tough moment easier. It can strengthen the bonds of friendship or even be the thing that starts a friendship. In times of deep sorrow, laughter lightens the heart.
God knows this. I think it's why He created laughter. Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine," and scientific studies back that up. When we laugh, we stretch our muscles, our blood pressure and pulse increase, and we breathe faster -- all things that improve our mood and our health.
After the week we had last week with the death of my grandma followed by the news of the Newtown school shootings, I decided that the gift we would give on Saturday would be laughter. The girls had to make someone laugh during the day.
My younger daughter loved the idea. By the end of the day, she had told numerous jokes (her favorite of the day was a not so appropriate one that my husband told her about Dolly Parton's new shoes). No matter the joke, she made people laugh. Her clear joy in telling the joke made others laugh bef0re she ever got to the punchline.
My older daughter made people laugh unintentionally when she and her best friend managed to lock the door to her friend's bathroom -- with no one inside. Not their brightest moment but one that made them both laugh and made me smile as well (I'm not sure her friend's dad was smiling, though.)
Laughter is a gift that we can give to others. We can spread joy either intentionally or unintentionally, but the results are the same. When we spread joy by creating laughter, we give a gift that benefits both body and soul.
Our other activity for the weekend was supposed to be to share the gift of song. But because we're a normal household that sometimes forgets things, we did not open our box yesterday. So, today, the girls will choose a neighbor and we'll head over to sing a couple of Christmas carols.
Singing is a big part of praising God. There's an entire book in the Bible that's simply a book of songs. Music is a blessing to God's ears, and it doesn't really matter if you can actually sing. Psalm 98:4 says, "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth." God's not interested in whether we're on key or whether we have a voice like an angel. He's interested in the attitude behind the song -- the desire to praise Him.
Give the gift of song and laughter to someone today. You'll lift their spirits, improve their health and please God all at the same time.
Talking with our kids about tragedies like the Newtown school shootings can be tough. Check out some tips for talking with your kids in this special post.