21-city 'True Meaning of Christmas Tour' includes 'Wolfchase Galleria' area of Memphis: Fri., Dec. 8

12/4/2017



By
Rev. Michael Morris, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Lakeland, Tennessee
Crystal Caviness, United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee


What is the true meaning of Christmas? The question has been asked in many ways for many years and the answer has been deliberated for generations.

Books have been written and movies have been filmed, all with the goal of answering the seemingly unanswerable question. Perhaps, Charlie Brown in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” expresses it best when, in complete exasperation, he yells out “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

The United Methodist Church has taken that question – and its answer – on the road this holiday season in a festively-bedecked truck. The truck is traveling across 16 states for a 21-city tour to hand out more than 16,000 free cups of cocoa and engage in service projects in those cities. The tour’s single purpose: to help people unwrap the true meaning of Christmas.

Memphis plays host to The True Meaning of Christmas Tour Friday, Dec. 8, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot between Buffalo Wild Wings and the Sears/Avis Car Center near the Wolfchase Galleria. Volunteers from Bartlett and St. Paul United Methodist Churches are partnering with United Methodist Communications for this tour stop.

Click here for 30-second video that shows what the tour is all about.

For The United Methodist Church, the true meaning of Christmas centers on the birth of Jesus Christ and God’s love for all. This message, albeit a simple one, frequently gets lost amid the busyness of the season.

For many, the Christmas holidays are steeped in commercialism and materialism, expenses and crowds, aspects that research says people like least about Christmas.

Conversely, the same 2013 Pew Research Report says that people most look forward to spending time with family and friends and being involved with church or religious activities during the holidays.

In promoting our message, we are inviting those along our tour route – and everyone, really – to attend a local church near them where one might find community with others. Of course, we particularly offer an invitation to visit one of 86 United Methodist churches in metro Memphis. Research indicates that twice as many people say they are lonely today than 10 years ago, despite the myriad of ways to stay connected, such as on social media. Our hope is that people will join us at church, where our message is one of hope, joy and faith, and where many people find deeper meaning in their lives.

The True Meaning of Christmas Tour offers people a chance to come out and reflect on those parts of the holiday that mean the most to them, while also providing an opportunity to give back to the community through the service projects.

In Memphis, we are collecting new children’s books for Project Transformation and canned food for local food banks.

Project Transformation brings together college-aged interns, local churches and children during summer breaks for activities that emphasize literacy to prevent children from falling behind in the educational process. The program locations are strategically placed in low-income communities and books donated at the tour will be used at local Project Transformation sites.

Attendees also may donate canned food at the tour stop to support local food banks.

Everyone is welcome and we hope you’ll join us for The True Meaning of Christmas Tour, where we invite you to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas for yourself!

Follow the tour online at UnwrapChristmas.org and #UnwrapChristmas.