published Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Cooper: Ready or not, here he comes

I was fussing and fretting earlier this week because someone was coming over to the house. All the baking stuff would need to be quickly rinsed and put into the dishwasher. I would have to gather up piles and move them to another room.

The books were out for a short talk I was to give. There were clothes I needed to hang up from the myriad of changes we have to make in this warm-to-cold-to-rainy-to-cool-to-warm weather. The few presents I had bought needed to be wrapped. And I still had to get ready for work.

This is not convenient, I thought to myself. I wanted this person to come at a time when I would be more ready.

More ready? Are we ever ready?

That made me think of our son's birth 19 years ago next month. Due on March 4, he came knocking in mid-January.

No, no, my wife and I thought to ourselves. We had just gotten the new carpet down in the house we had purchased. We still had to sell our old house. We had moved almost nothing to the new house. We hadn't painted. We were going to take our time between January and his due date to move.

And for our baby, whose sex was as yet undetermined, we had no crib, no diapers, no bottles. No bag was packed. Heck, we'd gone to only two Lamaze classes.

We were sure this was just an early alarm, though. We'd be sent back home, told to come back later in the week when we and the baby would be more ready.

More ready? Are we ever ready?

That, in turn, made me think about the first Christmas. Mary and Joseph surely weren't ready or they would have made reservations at the Bethlehem Hampton Inn, right? Or registered online? Or told Oprah about those angel dreams in exchange for luxury accommodations in a hospital suite where they would be more ready.

More ready? Are we ever ready?

Every year at Christmas, whether we're ready or not, the Christ child comes. The last gift may have gone unbought. The last decoration may not have been hung. The last treat may have gone unprepared. Maybe the presents aren't even wrapped. But still he comes.

Into our lives. Into our hearts. A gift unprepared for, undeserved, unfathomable.

The good thing is, as unready as we are, we can still accept the gift, open it and live the freeing life that the babe of Christmas offers.

Contact Clint Cooper at or 423-757-6497.

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about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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