When I was in the army, part of my tour was spent in Germany. Often, my duties were to drive one of the commissioned officers. One day I was driving the jeep for Colonel Reed. As we were coming into town, we came to a cross walk and a German civilian had already started across, so I had to stop. When he got in front of our jeep he turned and faced us, with a smile on his face he nodded his head as a gesture of gratitude. Colonel Reed said, “The smile is a universal language, everyone understands a smile.”

Smile more often. I cannot think of many occasions when a smile is out of place. You can develop a cheerful countenance. Someone has said, A frowning face repels. A smile reaches out and attracts.” Solomon said, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face . . . a cheerful heart has a continual feast . . . a joyful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 15:13 & 15; 17:22)

Pictures we see of preachers of many years passed such as Martin Luther and Charles Haddon Spurgeon, show them to be very sober and stoic. However, their biographies reveal the opposite. It is said of Luther that he had a playful humor and attracted the oppressed of his day. The reformer was not afraid to laugh and had a winsome personality. It is said that Spurgeon was a “character.” His style was loose and he was criticized again and again of bordering on frivolity in the Tabernacle pulpit. He stated, “If only you knew how much I hold back you would commend me.” He loved life and his favorite sound was laughter.

Smiles turn to laughter. My wife and I visited our children and grand children for Mother’s Day. My wife and I, my son and his wife, and my daughter and her husband all gathered around the dining table on Saturday evening for table games. Smiles turned to laughter throughout the evening of fun and games. It’s a treasure to be part of a happy, laughing family. Someone has said, “Laughter releases the strangle-hold grip of the daily grind.” Laughter can lift up hearts that are heavy. Often a smile is like a pleasant word to each person you see.

Reflections: Today is a good day, what attitude do I choose?

  • I choose to be happy and grateful.
  • I choose to be cheerful and uplift those around me.
  • I refuse to complain, whine, backbite, gossip, fret, slander, or evade responsibility: I choose to smile.