There are a couple of commercials out right now from Match.com that are worthy of the Super Bowl. They are commercials about how Satan and 2020 found each other on Match.com and fell in love. If you haven’t seen them yet you can watch them by clicking here.
There is a name for the kind of humor in the Satan and 2020 dating commercials. It’s called “Tragic Laughter”. I came across this category of humor in an article about the Book of Jonah. It was called “Rethinking Humor in the Book of Jonah: Tragic Laughter as Resistance in the Context of Trauma.” For an article about humor it wasn’t very funny, but it was interesting. According to the author, Jonah is a very funny book. I’ve never found the story of Jonah to be hilarious. Maybe it’s just me, but when jokes have to be explained by Bible scholars, it’s hard to get a laugh.
The humor in the Book of Jonah that is lost on us has to do with the context of the Assyrians. The Assyrians were one of the nations who conquered the people of the northern kingdom, Israel. In the Book of Jonah, the Assyrians are made fun of as their king subjects their livestock to fasting and wearing sackcloth as the livestock are made to repent along with the people of Nineveh. There are many other side splitting gags in Jonah that the Bible scholars just roll in the aisles over.
Whether or not the jokes in Jonah are funny wasn’t the point of the article. The point the author was so sterilely making was that people need to laugh when they are living through difficult times. Tragic laughter is a sign of hope. When people stop laughing it’s a sign that they have given up hope. No matter how bad 2020 was and how rough the start to 2021 has been, I hope that you can still find things to laugh about. Our hope is never lost. Our hope is in God who is with us and whose faithfulness outlasts every tragedy.