The writings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) pointed to the fact that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. Three days Jesus lay in the tomb. Three days the devil celebrated. But on the morning of the third day, God had the last laugh! Jesus conquered death. Jesus conquered sin. Jesus was alive again, bringing new life and laughter to all.
“Risus paschalis – the Easter laugh,” the early theologians called it.The Greeks in the early centuries of Christianity began an old Easter custom called, “Holy Humor Sunday.”
Holy Humor Sunday was a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on the Sunday after Easter. For centuries in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant countries, the week following Easter Sunday, including “Bright Sunday” (the Sunday after Easter), was observed by the faithful as “days of joy and laughter” with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Churchgoers and pastors played practical jokes on each other, drenched each other with water, told jokes, sang, and danced.
Sounds like a great way for Christians to rediscover the joy of our salvation!
See The Joyful Noiseletter for more info.