Best Reason to Smile

“The broader your smile and the deeper the creases around your eyes when you grin, the longer you are likely to live”.

That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by researchers from the Wayne State University in Michigan. Studying photographs of US major league baseball players from the 50’s, the researchers grouped them according to “‘no smile’ if they were just looking deadpan at the camera… ‘partial smile’ if only the muscles around the mouth were involved in their grin… [and] ‘full smile’ if the mouth and eyes were smiling and the cheeks were both raised.” (Ibid) On the average, the “no smile” group lived up to around 73 years old, the “partial smile” group lived up to 75, and the “full smile” group lived up to around 80! According to the smile study, published in Psychological Science this week, “To the extent that smile intensity reflects an underlying emotional disposition, the results of this study are congruent with those of other studies demonstrating that emotions have a positive relationship with mental health, physical health and longevity (Ibid). In short, as the news item is titled in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “Broader smile, longer life.”

Though the study gave us another reason to smile, I think the best reason why we should smile is not that we would live longer but that our Lord Jesus died for our sins and rose again on the third day. We may live long because we smiled a lot. But, sooner or later, we would still die. Our smile then would only last in our lifetime. Yet, when we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we will smile throughout eternity. This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the start of what we call the Passion Week or the Holy Week. We were taught when we were children that we should not smile during this Week, especially on Good Friday. The elders reasoned, “Patay ang Diyos.” (“God is dead.”) But we Christ-followers have all the reason to smile. The night before He died, our Lord told His apostles, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.(John 16:20, ESV) After talking about how a mother’s anguish in giving birth would turn to joy after the baby has been delivered, He added, “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (v. 22)

Brethren, smile because He lives!

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