I’m not making light of Thanksgiving Day by suggesting we should be thankful for leftovers. To have enough is a feast. To have leftovers is a blessing of abundance, and that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.
I’m very thankful for the blessing of leftovers for those days following Thanksgiving. I’m especially thankful for leftover roast turkey and baked spiral-cut ham, but I’ll talk about that later.
Last year’s Thanksgiving food column included a good deal of history about the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims were not only thankful for a successful harvest; they were truly thankful for God’s blessing.
There is no mention in history books they were thankful to the English government, not even for the Mayflower. King James I was glad to be rid of those Separatists, who would start another English colony, one that would eventually waste a lot of perfectly good English tea.
Folks who read the Bible know that God led the people of Israel out of Egypt to wander 40 years in the wilderness. During that time, he provided food and water, specifically something called manna. If I remember correctly, this “bread from heaven” translates to, “What is it?”
I’ve been served a lot of stuff that I couldn’t identify. I’m not too shy to ask what something is before I eat it. The Israelites were apparently just as skeptical.
God told them that the manna they gathered each morning could only be eaten Sunday through Friday. On the Sabbath, the manna gathered on Friday would sustain them both days. During the week, the bread would rot by the following day. He was teaching them to trust him for their daily bread and to be grateful for whatever He gave them.
Later, when Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, He included the line, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He didn’t say, “Ask for more than you need.” He was teaching them to trust God for their daily needs and be thankful to Him and Him alone for everything.
It’s not like that today, is it?
As families gather around the dinner table tomorrow, some may give thanks for the meal, which, for most Americans, is more than a feast. Whom, though, are they thanking, and how grateful are they, really?
A lot of folks today thank government for their daily bread, not God. Oh, I know they’ll say God uses governments to serve His purpose. That’s only partially true. He still holds us personally responsible for our own families’ needs.
Some folks prefer the government stay out of their churches, homes, home schools and health care. These modern-day separatists probably thank God the National Security Agency can’t read minds.
I’m personally thankful I can write about food while there is still food to write about. What if the government controlled food, too?
I’m especially thankful for my family and my faith, although I’m restricted now from talking too much about my faith in public. Ditto for other unalienable rights once guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
And yes, I am thankful for that eleventy-pound turkey and that equally large spiral-cut ham. Every scrap of meat will be picked from that turkey. Though I’ll scrap the turkey bones, I’ll save the ham bone to make soup. With that leftover turkey and ham, my wife will make turkey salad and ham salad, turkey pot pie and scallop potatoes with ham.
Best of all, I’ll make sandwiches. I like to take a couple slices of ham and a couple slices of turkey and slap them between two thick slices of sourdough bread with lots of mayo, yellow mustard, Romaine lettuce and greenhouse tomatoes.
Before I bite into that delicious sandwich, I’ll once again thank God for the leftovers that made it possible. My cup runs over with His blessings. It’s too bad the country He blessed at its beginning no longer seeks His blessing.
Murray’s food column appears weekly in the Courier. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.