Lenten Devotion Day 9

Genesis 21:1-7

The Birth of Isaac

21 The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

What strikes me most keenly about this piece of scripture is verse 6: “Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” What a beautiful sentiment that is! Is there a more purely joyful, genuine reaction to good news, blessings, or unexpected surprises God has in store for us? Laughing is such a deeply human response. Big belly laughs make us feel alive. And the sharing of laughter with others, as Sarah anticipates in the scripture, makes us feel not only alive, but also connected: part of a community. Who among us has never had an acquaintance become a friend through shared laughter? Who hasn’t felt more at ease in a social situation when someone lightens the mood with a joke or story?

Traditionally the season of Lent is about remembering Jesus Christ’s 40 days in the desert. You hear about folks fasting, giving up luxuries, and other acts of penance. But do not forget to also celebrate, to react joyfully, and to share the joy you feel in these weeks with your community. My prayer for you in this Lenten season is to remember Sarah’s faithfulness in God, and to greet whatever God has in store for you with laughter.

–Emily Wernsdorfer

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