Let the little children come to me . . . — Luke 18:16
There are few sounds as joyful and smile-inducing as the laughter of children. Or babies! Isn’t it mindboggling that an infant is born with a natural gift of laughter? To hear a baby laugh is, to me, a stop-in-your-tracks moment of realizing how our great and gentle God wants to instill in us unbounded joy.
I am privileged to spend a couple of hours a week with the children of the Charlie Thomas Head Start in the Gardere area. With autoharp or fiddle in hand, I join these three and four year-olds in their familiar favorite songs. They smile and wiggle and clap and then compete in requesting the next song. They love the familiar songs but are very willing to learn the new songs that I sometimes compose to accompany the theme of a storybook we have read. The sillier the lyrics, the more they enjoy the songs. And, believe me, I can write some silly songs like “I’ve Got Tiny Little Teeth in my Mouth,” “Don’t Eat Your Friends” and “No Pigs Allowed.”
One of my favorite songs to sing with the children is the standard “Old Macdonald Had a Farm.” The kids yell out which animal to imitate from verse to verse, but then I demand a turn and suggest that Macdonald has an unusual animal on his farm like a tiger or dinosaur. Sometimes we have to pause to figure out what a platypus or unicorn might sound like, but the song goes rocking on. Some days I suggest that a wolf should be part of the farm menagerie. Squeals accompany the suggestion but the children enthusiastically join in howling. We howl at all pitches, at every tempo, in concert, in disharmony and at great length until we fall out in laughter.
Predictably the teachers are pretty much disgusted at the melee in the classroom. But watching the children enjoy the freedom and release and utter joy of howling brings tears to my eyes. Pure joy, pure fun. That is when I know that I am howling with angels, these precious creations of our amazing God.
Father, you have given us so many beautiful gifts. Thank you especially for children, for the blessing that each child brings to the earth. Thank you for the gifts of laughter and song and fun. Through these special blessings and the ultimate gift of your son, we surely realize that your desire for us is to live life with purpose and joy. Thank you, dear Father! Amen.