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True meaning of season grows each year

Can Christmas really be in two days? It seems impossible.

But, the calendar doesn’t lie; we’re in the final throes of the Christmas season.

Christmas can be such a stressful time.

Worrying about trying to select just the perfect gift.

Making sure you’re keeping up with the Jones, who always seem to have more resources.

Wondering if you have all of the bases covered that everyone expects from you.

It’s funny how Christmas has changed for me through the years.

Initially, the holiday was all about me. What will I get for Christmas?

As a child, I spent weeks of time poring over the Sears Wish Book catalog, dreaming of the most state-of-the-art toys of the day.

Back in my Christmas heyday, those items tended to be huge things that wouldn’t have fit into my bedroom, let alone the middleclass budget of “Santa.”

Giant robots, go-karts and pinball machines are among the items that remain stored in my memory bank from those wish book study sessions more than three decades ago.

Flash forward a few years and Christmas quickly became more about other people and less about me.

I think they call that growing up.

For a while, Christmas to me was about finding unique gifts for members of my family. It was almost a game to see if I could find one that would wow someone.

It’s not often that I get wowed by a present any more, but I was wowed by an early present a few weeks ago.

It came from an unexpected source.

Julie grabbed my hand and held it to her abdomen and asked, “Did you feel that? She’s kicking.”

In an instant what I’d seen on ultrasound images and heard in the form of a beating heart became much more real, much more tangible.

If, God willing, everything goes as expected, a new Cooper should arrive in the world in approximately two months. We’re extremely excited for what God has in store for us as our family grows.

Before she’s even born, it seems Christmas is even less about us than about her.

We’re more focused on getting everything ready for her arrival than about getting presents.

Somehow in that process, Christmas seems to have even more meaning this year.

It’s extremely easy to lose focus in the middle of all of the hoopla and miss the Christmas “forest” for all of the “trees.”

Christmas isn’t about decorations, material things or receiving things.

Christmas is about one gift, one very big gift that we were all given. It started some 2,000 years ago with the birth of a special baby — Jesus.

That child wasn’t just any baby; He was the Son of God.

Many of us know the Christmas story, but we sometimes forget it.

Snowmen, reindeer, a big guy in a red suit and a film about a boy who lusted after a BB gun often overshadow the manger scene.

The gift we’ve been given was the opportunity to be saved from our own sin, through the grace of God, a loving father who loved each of us so much that he voluntarily allowed his son to feel the pain and punishment intended for us.

That’s an amazing thing to think about, particularly this time of year. His gift is the only one that really matters.

Merry Christmas to all of you, each are loved and appreciated.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.