A verse with the word laugh? I am so in.
Holidays are meant to be wonderful, meaningful, and joyful.
Yet sometimes they end up being fretful, stressful, even dreadful.
My recipe for keeping things merry and bright?
- Add thankfulness on the menu for Thanksgiving
- Place Christ at the very heart of Christmas
- Wrap everything with a generous sense of humor
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed… Proverbs 31:25
It’s often the first thing we notice about a woman—her clothing, “her garments” (ISV), how “she dresses” (GW).
This woman in Proverbs may be strong, but she’s not dressed for battle. Back in the day, we wore business attire like a suit of armor, as we headed out to slay dragons in the corporate world. Case in point: in the deep recesses of my desk, I found a pad of sticky notes from the ‘80s, featuring a career woman’s checklist for success: “Look like a lady. Act like a man. Work like a dog.”
Hmm. The not-so-good old days.
We know better now. It’s who we are, rather than what we wear, that leads to genuine success. And it’s what we do for others that matters in the end. As Kate Halverson once said, “If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed.”
…with strength… Proverbs 31:25
This Proverbs 31 woman really knows how to dress. Not just in linen like the priests, not just in purple like royalty, not just in her own fabulous handmade creations—she also wears strength and dignity like a shield, “as if they were her clothes” (NIRV).
The Hebrew word oz means “strength, might.” What does a strong woman look like? Not strong-willed; in fact, just the opposite. She’s strong enough to be flexible, without fear of losing control, knowing “her position is secure” (AMP).
It’s the strength of the Lord that empowers her—and us.
And if you cling to the promise, “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” here’s the rest of the story on that verse. After God’s people were exiled in Babylonia, they returned to Jerusalem and celebrated with a feast not unlike our Thanksgiving.
“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’” (Nehemiah 8:10).
There it is: joy. More on that in a second.
…and dignity;… Proverbs 31:25
How would you describe dignity? It’s more attitude than aristocracy. Humility, rather than nobility. The Hebrew word hadar tells us this woman was dressed in “honor, splendor, majesty.” Some translations go with “glory” (JUB) or “beauty” (DRA) or “respect” (ERV).
Put them all together and you get a sense of what God is calling His daughters to step into: His world. His truth. His holiness.
Impossible? Not when it’s His doing: “I the Lord am holy—I who make you holy” (Leviticus 21:8).
We’re never too old—or too young—to walk in His strength and His splendor.
..she can laugh at… Proverbs 31:25
You know I’ve been waiting all year for this part! Imagine being “full of joy (NLV), someone who’s “confident” (CEB) and “cheerful” (CEV), who’s not “afraid (GNT) or “anxious (EXB). Yes, please.
Why merely giggle, when you could guffaw?
Why simply smile, when you can snort?
My role models growing up were all funny women. First, I loved Lucy. And Ethel. Then, I longed to be Carol Burnett. Or Phyllis Diller, who said, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”
Laughing is one way we express our true selves. Our polished image goes right out the window. We can learn how to walk, stand, sit, eat properly, but when we laugh, we lay all pretense aside.
Years ago I saw a magazine ad that said, “Q-tips now come in beautiful decorator canisters. One for every room of the house.” I missed this in Home Ec. Are we supposed to have Q-tips in every room? Tissues, maybe, but Q-tips? I suppose this holiday season, you could pick a decorator canister to match your dining room. You know, in case your guests want to clean their ears before dinner.
The truth? Laughter is good for our hearts, souls, and minds. It’s a free gift from the Lord. No cost, no calories, no guilt, no regrets. Besides, as Fred Allen said, “It’s bad to suppress laughter. It goes right back down and spreads to your hips.”
…the days to come. Proverbs 31:25
A woman of God not only laughs in the here and now; she also “smiles at the future” (GW), and does so “without fear” (NLT).
She’s not overly concerned for her children, not frightened about her finances, not freaked out about getting older. She knows that “she and her family are in readiness for it” (AMP), because their lives are grounded in God’s truth and wrapped in God’s love.
With the Lord holding our Forever in His hands, we can look “forward to the future with joy” (NCV) and “laugh in the last day (WYC), starting this day.
Happy Thanksgiving, beloved. And don’t forget the Q-tips.
Now it’s your turn
- Can you think of something funny that happened one Thanksgiving?
We’d love to hear about it! Just click Post a Comment below and share your experience.
The adorable young women in the photo above? They traveled to Scotland with me one November. Beautiful as they come, yet making silly faces at each other—on purpose, for the camera—to celebrate their friendship. Love. It.
We’ll spend the last few weeks of 2014 unwrapping your favorite verses in Proverbs, then put a bow on the year December 31st. In the days to come, may joy abound in your heart and in your home!
Your grateful sister, Liz
For fiction readers who love a romantic time and place: A Wreath of Snow
For children who love a heartwarming story: The Pine Tree Parable
For friends who love an encouraging word: The Women of Christmas