by Rhonda Loucks

During this most wonderful time of the year, I spend a lot of time on my knees. I would like to be able to say that those hours are spent in prayers and meditation before my Lord, but I have to admit that my posture is due mostly to decorating. Everything from the top of my house to the bare wooden floor shimmers with Christmas. That is how I like it. Then again, that is how I am about most things. I like big and bright and poofy and right at the line of over-the-top. Now some like a lot and some like a little, and I have even had friends – good friends – that refuse to decorate at all because they feel instructed by scripture to refrain. Those differences, however, did not keep us from enjoying each other, each other’s families, and the celebration of Christmas any less.

basic ingredientsShe has always been a wonderful baker, that strange non-decorating friend of mine. She makes breads that perfume the air with the scent of comfort. She makes cookies that can, in just one deep breath, cause a flood of childhood memories and delightful stories. But, she uses no sprinkles, nor colored sugars, nor fancy frostings. She is simple and plain and lovingly pure, and so are the things she bakes.

I love bright and glittery and rows and rows of sparkles. I am also a decent baker. The extravagant flavors and the experimental contrasts are what pull me in. I love the colors and the richness and the boldness that foods offer. “Works of art,” she would say. “But, still tasty to the core.” I am not as plain or simple as she, and what comes from my kitchen is often quite evident of my extreme personality.

We both love the warmth of a kitchen and the depth and intensity of the aromas that rise from it. We love the laughter and the friendship and the simple pleasures of fellowship that are shared in a working kitchen. And, the things we bake together especially reflect that love. We are so different and yet so similar. The products that both my friend and I produce look nothing the same, yet are blended and folded and kneaded together from the same basic ingredients. It is that central basis and following the same basic rules of baking that cause our final products to complement each other’s. It is our basic love and desire for baking that unites us and causes us to be so comfortable in each other’s kitchens.

In the same way we are able to celebrate this magical season of Christmas. My house is all about ribbons, and lights, and greens and trees. Her house is about one simple nativity. Still, we are the same. The basic ingredients of our faith are the belief in the deity of Jesus and our salvation as the purpose for His birth. The ability to focus on those simple truths during the Christmas season is what has allowed us to become such great friends and followers of Christ who can support and enjoy each other in this, our most beloved time of the year.

So, whether you are on your knees to set up a nativity or to add just one more row of lights to the tree or both, take some time to look beyond the differences this season to enjoy the celebration. Christmas is a believer’s party. We are the hosts and Christ is the honored guest. So throw it big or make it simply special. But please don’t make excuses, cut-back on your heart’s priorities, or fall into the world’s neglect. Make sure you have the basic ingredients, and spend this season in wondrous celebration of the birth of our Savior.

Fall on your knees, for unto us a child is born
and, He alone can still
save us all.

Rhonda D. Loucks is an author, wife, mother, Sunday School teacher and member of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene. More of her writings are available at



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