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Christmas spirit not lacking in Southwest Mississippi

If you’re feeling a bit Grinch-like this time of year, you only have yourself to blame. Brookhaven and the surrounding areas are full of Christmas spirit.

Thursday night’s parade in downtown Brookhaven was the perfect kickoff to the holiday season. The parade featured more queens, kings, princes and princesses waving from convertibles than you could count. There was also plenty of floats full of cheer. Serenity Salon & Day Spa’s float won first place followed by Farmbelt Equipment and Pike National Bank. The parade even had a calliope player banging out Christmas tunes. “A calliope?” you ask. It’s an instrument sometimes called a “steam piano.” In this case, it’s more likely an “air piano.” Air is forced through large whistles to produce a loud, carnival-like sound.

But the parade is just the start of the Christmas festivities. Area churches are planning special programs and concerts for the season. And though there are more special church events than we can list here, here’s a taste:

• First Baptist Church Brookhaven will present “Worthy: A Christmas Worship Experience” Sunday at 10:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Associate Pastor of Worship and Media Nick Wolfe said the event’s first and most important goal is to give glory to God. “(Jesus is) the only one we celebrate a birthday 2,019 years after he was born,” Wolfe said. “He’s worthy of that.”

• First United Methodist Church will host its annual Blue Christmas event Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. in the church sanctuary. The event will include scripture readings and music. The goal of the event is to offer hope and bring the Christmas spirit to those who have experienced loss and adversity during the holidays.

• Easthaven Baptist Church will have “The Sounds of Christmas” Dec. 15 starting at 10:30 a.m. At 5 p.m. the same day, guest speaker Marquis Laughlin will present “The Bible Live,” a live presentation of the life of Jesus and the birth and spread of the church.

Whatever your religious preference, find a church where you can hear the story of Jesus’ birth and life. Christmas is more than good food, time with family and gift-giving. Those things are wonderful, but they are only reminders of the real reason we celebrate.