The message to me was clear this Thanksgiving: Prepare lots of food so there will be lots of leftovers. Most of this year’s Thanksgiving guests were also with us last year. While they were extremely gracious and complimentary of the feast of 2005, they were disappointed because there were very few leftovers.

The term leftover is defined as something that remains unused or unconsumed, such as leftover food served at a later meal. Leftover is usually used in a negative context when referring to food. It’s not the primary, freshly prepared cuisine, but that which remains when the meal is over. People might assume that the good stuff was consumed the first time around and the leftovers are the least desirable. Apparently this is not true in the case of traditional Thanksgiving food — at least not with my family.

Leftovers has a whole other meaning as well. I have pictures filed in my memory, gathered from magazines, newspapers and television clips — pictures of children and families throughout the world, and even in our own country, who do not have enough food. Leftovers is not a term they are familiar with. Regardless of whether it refers to meatloaf casserole or roast turkey, having food left over means there was more than enough.

Having leftovers means we have reason to give thanks — and that we can afford to be generous.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

December 7, 2006