Some Turkey trot; I turkey tremble.
I cook for sustenance and health, but I do not consider myself gifted in the culinary department. Yet, upon moving across the country to a city geographically isolated from both sides of our families, the mantle of hosting a large Thanksgiving was prematurely passed on to me.
Three years ago as we were preparing to host our first Thanksgiving, I literally lost sleep for a week. Cooking a turkey feels like a Rite of Passage for women; I clearly was not ready to pass. I did more google searches that week than I had in a long time: thawing a turkey; washing a turkey; what is brining? how long do you cook a turkey? carving a turkey.
I’d like to say that I have gotten the hang of the whole turkey situation, but our fourth year into hosting I still feel the familiar tremors of fear and anxiety as we approach Thanksgiving. Currently, there is a turkey that may or may not weight more than my toddler in our spare fridge in the garage. Somehow, I am responsible for helping transform the poor fella from a large, packaged bowling ball into a tasty, nostalgic meal centerpiece.
I am obviously employing the use of hyperbole; however, in all seriousness, I have a strong propensity to get off center when it comes to holiday hosting. While my initial desires are healthy, the desire to create a comfortable haven for our family and friends slowly morphs into a frantic need to impress and entertain. Somewhere in that transition, my joy is stolen and Jesus gets pushed from the driver seat into the trunk.
When serving becomes self-serving it ceases to be service. True hospitality seeks to create disarming space where people are invited to be themselves. We long for our home to be a place where people sense they belong before they believe. We long to invite people into our often messy (physically, spiritually and relationally) home and lives.
We desire Christ to be at the center of our hospitality. When He and the gospel are at the center, the turkey and the ambiance (or lack thereof, in my case) are put in their proper place: significant, not central.
This week, while reading a beautifully written and challenging book by Rosaria Butterfield, the Lord was gracious to use her words below to disarm my need to impress.
“Hospitality gives God glory by revealing him as the provider and the host. It does not steal glory from God by giving the appearance of self-sufficiency. God is the author of the banquet. We are – at best – one of the means.”
If you are coming to our home for Thanksgiving, please do not be afraid. I promise I will pick up the dog poop in the yard and clean toilets. I promise I will vacuum and try to make our plastic card tables presentable or even pretty. But I also promise to present to you life as it is in our home: a beautiful mess. Also, please come early. Every year, I forget how to make gravy and need someone to scroll down the screen while I frantically and hysterically whisk.