Thanksgiving Thoughts

November 22, 2007 at 11:11 PM

This Thanksgiving, I'm reminded of the following passage:

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Though the fig tree does not bud
       and there are no grapes on the vines,
       though the olive crop fails
       and the fields produce no food,
       though there are no sheep in the pen
       and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
       I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
       he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
       he enables me to go on the heights.

We have many, many things for which to be thankful (pregnancy, for one, is especially high on this year's list). This abundance makes Habakkuk's prayer really abstract; it's unlikely that anyone reading this will ever experience the hunger, poverty, or war-induced subservience that inspired Habakkuk.

There's substantial dissonance between the attitude of rejoicing expressed here and the typical Western demeanor. We're prone to treat livelihood and success as things we deserve — we assume that we're entitled to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Entitlement is exactly the opposite of the attitude that we ought to have. Instead, we need some form of thankfulness that's derived from being grateful for our true strength.