In the beginning, there was joy.

Bubbling, exciting.

Gladdening the hearts of all who heard it.

Giving birth to a rhapsodic creation.

Chortling brought forth constellations.

Smiles gave rise to suns.

Wonder created worlds, and happiness - humanity.

"Enjoy", said Joy.

"Have fun, and smile."

And so, they did - for a while.

But then, they started worrying about things that need not concern them, and, little by little.

The laughter faded and died.

Despite this Joy was still there and still waiting.

But hidden deep beneath the worries and woes.

Lost and alone.

Then, one euphoric day.

Joy took on flesh.

The Royal Jester came into being.

The Royal Jester joked and juggled, and people started to laugh.

Loud, loving laughter poured into the world once more.

Of course, there were those who didn't get the joke.

Who saw this joy as a threat, and determined to do away with it.

And one tear-filled day, they finally did it.

The Royal Jester died.

And for a while all was grief and pain.

The Joy had gone.

Until, early one morning, a giggle was heard.

The giggle became a chortle.

In due time, the chortle became a laugh until Joy was unconfined.

And there was a rib-tickling.

Side splitting, belly laughing rifling.

And the laughter grew.

And Joy spread.

More and more people got the joke.

More and more joined the Joy and were able to find the fun she spread.

Rev Graham Ransom

Superintendent Minister of the South Lakes Methodist Circuit