Have A Happy Thanksgiving!

By Curtis Shelburne: CNJ Religion Columnist

Generally speaking, even though I really enjoy my daily work, I enjoy holidays a great deal. I like special times when most folks take a much-needed day or two off to enjoy each other, eat too much, and goof off a bit. Taking a little time off on occasion, holidays included, almost always helps us be worth more when we’re back on the job. Most holidays also remind us in one way or another that our relationships with the people we love are more important than the work we do to make a living, and that the fellow was right who remarked that he’d never seen a tombstone with this epitaph: I WISH I’D SPENT MORE TIME AT THE OFFICE.
 
As holidays go, among my very favorite is Thanksgiving. It’s such a fine holiday based on such a great and noble principle. The whole idea behind giving thanks makes this holiday filled with gratitude marvelously immune to the crass commercialization attacking the great holiday that follows it—unless, I suppose, you happen to be a turkey merchant or cranberry pusher. So I particularly like Thanksgiving— which is why it grieves me that I seem to be allergic to it.
 
I really don’t mean to be such a turkey that I start grinching right here in the midst of a column about Thanksgiving. But it just seems to be a fact that almost every year at about this time, I end up with a world class cold. Then when we do what most people do at Thanksgiving—stuff not just a turkey but stuff a house full of four times as many folks as the Surgeon General and the fire codes say is healthy, something like trying to cram a full maternity ward into a Volkswagen bug and keep everyone comfortable all through their labor—when we do that, I end up camped out in a corner like Typhoid Mary, sniffing and sneezing, tossing on a blow-up bed buried under spent Kleenex, zombied with antihistamine, shooting up nose spray to stave off suffocation, and hoping just to expire quietly. I confess that the whole mucousy and terminally congested picture sometimes stretches the bonds of gracious gratitude just a tad.
 
Yes, but we’re enjoined by Scripture to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
 
I believe that. I aspire to that. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. I really am.
 
Yes, I’m presently germ-ridden and lit up red-nosed like Rudolph loaded with Nyquil. But the family still seems to want me around for some reason. The germs will soon be vanquished. And one thing piled higher than my Kleenex right now is the pile of blessings with which God has absolutely filled my life.
 
Yours, too, I’ll bet.
 
So, happy [SNIFF!], Thanksgiving!