Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
If you’re a Star Trek fan, you know Patrick Stewart as the captain of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Beyond that, however, Patrick Stewart is a gifted Shakespearean actor with a great love for British literature. In 1999, Stewart created a film version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Many consider it one of the best versions ever made.
Towards the end of the film, there is one especially poignant scene. Ebenezer Scrooge, in his bed, has just awakened. His encounters with the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are now all behind him. At first, he’s still terrified that his soul is lost as a result of what he now sees as his empty, self-absorbed life. However, soon he realizes not only that he is still alive, but that it is Christmas morning. It dawns on him that he has just received a gift to celebrate Christmas, a gift that frees him from the shackles of his past wrongs, a gift to live an entirely new life.
And then it happens. In that moment when he realizes that all is forgiven and he now has a life before him that is fresh and clean and new, he begins to laugh. It is a laugh, the likes of which he has never laughed. It is not just a laugh of relief. It is a laugh of resurrection and restoration. It is a laugh of pure, simple joy.
This is why the Lord calls us to repentance. Does he want us to look upon our sins with sincere sorrow? Yes. But that is not where it ends. Rather, he longs for our repentant hearts to bask in the full forgiveness that Jesus Christ has purchased for us at the cross. He wants to refresh us in lives that are free and cleansed and clean.
In other words, he wants us to laugh the laugh that only the good news about Jesus can bring.
Refresh me, Lord Jesus, in the full forgiveness I have in you. Amen.