By this time next week, Thanksgiving will be a thing of the past and we’ll be in the throes of Black Friday, elbowing our way through the masses to find the perfect gift.

But for now, for many Thanksgiving looms ahead, a mixture of thrill and dread as we consider the delectable foods accompanied by the tight waistbands and brutally honest scales. Or maybe, its a mixture of excitement tainted with angst because family relationships are more strained than the lumps in the gravy.

For me it’s just all about excitement. We have the privilege of hosting some of our favorite people, enjoying food and friendship and gravy and grace – lumps and all.

Right about now there are articles flying around about the perfect recipe, how to be the perfect host (or guest), the brilliant idea of offering to bring the gravy, decorations for the table, methods to add meaning, activities for the kids’ table, conversation starters, proper etiquette for tricky situations… lots of things about coming together to enjoy food, friendship, and family.

This flurry of articles is awesome!

Special recipes are a delight since I love food (eating it more than making it)!

I want to be a great hostess (or guest), which is why we regularly remind ourselves manners are a simple way of counting others as more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:3) and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

And Thanksgiving is a great time to remember to eat and drink with God’s glory,not gluttony, in mind (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Thanksgiving Day is also the perfect time to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) in a material way, even as I consider his many blessings and boast in him (all of Psalm 34), exalting and praising him for the refuge he provides not only from sin, but also from sinning.

On the other hand, all those articles tempt me to embrace perfection. They promise I can learn to serve the perfect food with the perfect apron and perfect smile. I can set it on a perfectly beautiful table with perfectly mannered kids at the perfect time on perfect dishes with perfect conversation… and perfectly miss the perfect blessing of being full of thanksgiving rather than doing Thanksgiving fully. Perfection is a promise laden with bondage. Thankfulness is a promise laden with joy.

So it struck me as I was making a shopping list last night, there is one thing I want to make sure graces my table this year.

Brokenness.

If the turkey burns (gasp) and the rolls are like hockey pucks and the gravy is so thick it could stand, I want brokenness served with grace at my table.

If the turkey is perfectly juicy and the rolls are like clouds and the gravy flows like a stream from heaven, I want brokenness served with grace at my table.

I’m not sure I’m cut out to be the perfect hostess. I’m not sure I make a great guest. I don’t know if our table will have any decorations or activities or special meaning, but I do broken pretty well.

I do soapy-tasting scones & snap-at-the-kids & laugh-at-the-jello-on-the-floor pretty well.

I do I-forgot-to-preheat-the-oven & my-heart-is-broken-over-what-you-are-telling-me pretty well, too.

I do “I’m sorry” a little less well, but I am getting better at it.

Whatever hospitality experts, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Martha Stewart may say, brokenness is an essential ingredient for the perfect Thanksgiving.

Perfect Thanksgiving

So, if you are coming to my house this Thanksgiving, please come share your brokenness.

If you come to my house for pizza some Friday, or take me up on a offer for a night’s lodging as you pass through Tennessee, please bring your brokenness. I want my table, my home, my presence to be a place where brokenness is welcome and perfection is recognized for what it is: a lie and a taskmaster.

If you are having Thanksgiving this year under strained circumstances, maybe it’s time to add brokenness to your Thanksgiving menu.

If you are opening your home to others this Thanksgiving, maybe you could offer brokenness as you open the door.

As you enter the home of someone else next week, maybe you could tie the flowers with a ribbon of brokenness.

Adding brokenness to the menu in my house might mean I admit I struggle with a critical spirit but have seen the Spirit strengthening me in encouragement. As we talk about the things for which we are thankful: the food, the friendships, the years of history we share, the freedoms we have today that we should not take for granted, the health we have and the provision we’ve seen, the people who are not with us… serving brokenness will add thankfulness for progress I’m making in having patience with my kids and a growing contentment with God’s calling on our family.

After all, it’s only in context of my utter brokenness that I can offer the hope of the cross and live in thankfulness for it. What could be more perfect than that?