I swear, the Dad Joke is an artform my husband has mastered. I call it an artform because there is an element of creativity needed to come up with the perfect Dad Joke. When a great joke is coupled with perfect timing then, it gets the right emotive reaction as is to be expected from all great works of art. The Dad Joke emotive reaction, however, usually comes from a wife who has perfected the art of the eyeroll. ?
But seriously Japheth is out of control. Example, a few weeks ago I asked him to name a chocolate cake I baked. I was writing down the recipe for my sister. He immediately, without blinking an eye responded, “Name it, Chocolate Cake Surprise. The surprise is that the cake is actually good.” ? I kid you not, the Dude said that to me with a straight face. I have to say this man has a quick sharp wit, but alas, if only duels were won with the draw of the quickest joke. ?
Over the last few years, I have noticed that the apple has not fallen far from the tree. Both Judah and Jordan have also picked up on the same artistic sense of humour. The ability to come up with a joke at the right time is an amazing trait to have. And I am so glad that the boys are developing this characteristic.
I cannot count the times that Japheth’s aptly placed jokes have broken the ice in a tense or awkward situation. His jokes at once lightens the thickest of atmospheres and immediately sets people at ease. I really believe it is a God given ability. And if I had even one ounce of that ability, my blog would be attracting a lot more subscribers. ?
But there is a lot more to this quality besides the comic relief it can bring. The Bible quite often speaks of and references joy, laughter and having a cheerful attitude.
‘A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ‘Proverbs 17:22
There is a proverb which says that laughter is the best medicine. And while this is true, God specifically says it in His word. So there is spiritual truth to the phrase as well. When we are found in a cheerful environment, happiness can easily be spread to others. Cheerfulness has the ability to dispel negativity, bitterness and anger. This is definitely food for the soul. As it can bring forth healing over a depressed mind, a broken heart and even a sickly body.
The thing about cheerfulness and joy is that it is a condition of the heart. Meaning that you cannot truly fake joy, neither can you fake your way to happiness. You can put a smile on your face and pretend everything is fine. But God sees right through this because He looks directly at the heart.
‘But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ‘1 Samuel 16:7
The thing that is so wrong with the world today is that many are faking their happiness, faking their joy and faking their peace of mind. It is always concerning when those who cannot fake it any longer, finally crack. There are too many people out there who are barely holding it together and find themselves completely unravelling at the slightest form of pressure. (I, myself have been caught in this trap one too many times.)
But, I have found that people who have a strong sense of faith, self-worth and confidence are usually the ones who can easily create an atmosphere of joy and peace around them. People like Japheth. (Yes, Japheth I see your head growing here.) But yes, joy, contentment, peace, faith, hope, love, kindness, all these virtues are found when you have confidence not in yourself but in Christ. We hear so often about possessing the fruit of the spirit. But the facts are that if we display these virtues then we can rest assured that it is the Holy Spirit actually working through us.
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.’Galatians 5:22-25
These characteristics are without a doubt God given. If what flows out of you brings comfort, healing and a sense of calm and rest to those around you, you know that it comes from God. But just remember that the opposite is true too.
If there is one thing the enemy is after, it is to steal our peace, our joy, and ultimately our souls. Depression, confusion, chaos, and disorder are all from the enemy. If we are displaying traits which cause others to feel anxious, depressed, or miserable after spending time with us then we need to take a step back and, find the source of this behaviour.
It’s so important to remove things that drive negative influences in our lives. Toxicity can be found in so many forms. From the movies we watch, the books we read to the people we surround ourselves with. That is why it is so important to filter the content that we fill our minds with. As it is usually the same content that will flow out of our hearts. What you fill your well with, is what you will pour into others.
So, yes, I might roll my eyes every time I hear one of those classic Japheth jokes. But deep down, I recognise that the atmosphere that is created by the head of our home, contains the presence of God because in that moment of cheerfulness there is peace, joy and love all around us.