I spent a lot of time over the last few months visiting with young people for a variety of reasons. We are talking about late twenty and almost thirty something’s. I find that they are terrified of one thing and that is not being happy. They practice a form of life once called eudaemonism. I have always wondered where the idea that we should be, can be and are deserving of happiness came from. Even the Declaration of Independence hedges bets and says that we have the right to pursue happiness. Whether we catch it or not is never addressed.
I came across a wonderful essay by another one of the old professors, Martin Franzmann, in which he says,
“We have been set free from eudaemonism, from the illusion that man’s noblest and most indispensable work is the pursuit of happiness, the illusion that we are somehow entitled to happiness, that we have a right to it. We know of no rights that we can lay claim to at all, least of all a right to happiness; we, the people born of God, know only of gifts, and they are all gifts of the Giver-God, who gives absolutely and without reproaching the recipient, gifts of the Father of Lights, who is greater and more constant in His goodness than the lights which He has created and is capable of giving greater things than happiness; from glory to glory advancing, we receive His gifts, and we know that they are good gifts. Whether they square up to some standard of “happiness” constructed by men of this poor dying world or not, that is a largely irrelevant question.
So “Happy New Year”.