This year and next, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is not the first Sunday of Advent. This is a rarity in the liturgical schedule.

I remember the last time this happened in Kathy’s and my tenure at Trinity. We decided to take advantage of it and bought last minute tickets to fly to our parent’s home in Florida with our sons. The only tickets we could find were for a pre-dawn flight out of Bradley International in Hartford, CT on Thanksgiving morning, which meant that we left our home around 2:00 AM that morning to begin the trek.

We arrived at my parents’ condo in Palm Coast in the early afternoon, and my mother and father were so happy to have us that they kept feeding us all throughout the day. The hors d’oeuvres started coming and never seemed to stop, and when we finally sat down for the Thanksgiving dinner, we barely had any room in our stomachs. The enormous turkey my mother cooked was still pretty enormous after dinner.

When it came time to return home my mother decided we should take the turkey leftovers with us, meaning that she boxed up the turkey carcass with some cold packs, which we brought on the plane with us as a carry-on. You should have seen the look on the TSA agent when the boxed turkey went through the x-ray screening!

I’m not sure how long we were eating turkey that next week, but we certainly enjoyed every bit of it. To me, the best part of Thanksgiving are the leftovers. I could live on them.

We are most fortunate to live in this land of plenty. Though food insecurity is a problem in our country, most people have more than enough to eat. If anything, people worry about what to do with all the leftovers.

When Elijah told the widow of Zarephath to use her last meal and oil to make cakes for him, herself and her son, Elijah assured her she would not run out of food. Sure enough, she was able to live off the leftovers for a long while, (I Kings 17:14-16).

Speaking of leftovers, after Jesus fed the 5,000 we are told that the disciples gathered up all the leftover pieces of bread and fish, twelve baskets worth! (Mark 6:43).  We’re not told what he did with those baskets of food.  I’m hoping Jesus sent them home with the most food insecure among them. It would be just like Jesus to do so. To me, that is why he is Christ the King.

May we give thanks for leftovers. They are blessed by God.

About Rev. Dr. Tim Coombs

Tim Coombs serves as co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY with his wife, Rev. Kathleen Gorman-Coombs and leads a New Worshiping Community, Parallels ( He also worked on staff at Albany Presbytery for over a decade. Besides his work for the church, Tim is a storyteller, biker, guitar player, and intern to his cat, Sharpie. You can reach Tim at:

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