God built into His creation the ability to play. We see this especially in babies. Learning occurs while they play. Lion cubs hone their hunting skills through interacting with siblings. Our own children learn to speak and begin to discover the world through play. Clearly, there is a design for this. But is it only a functional design? Is there purpose beyond this? What about dolphins or sea otters that are engaged in play their whole lives?
Playing frees the mind to be creative in ways we don’t experience when we are task - oriented. It can also lift our mood. Perhaps most importantly, there is relational value to play. This seems to cut across cultural lines and, indeed, games have been found dating back thousands of years - parents on their knees with children, adults together enjoying a moment of unstructured fun. And along with the fun is laughter, which becomes emotional glue. It is bonding. It is relational treasure in the bank that can then be drawn upon when the tough stuff comes along.
Christians have a reputation for being serious. We are about the King’s business. And there is no doubt that these are serious times. In our society, where play and pleasure are overemphasized, it is easy to swing the other direction in the pursuit of God’s kingdom. But I think He enjoys watching His kids play as much as we enjoy watching ours. God delights in His creation and so should we.
And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Zechariah 8:5