UMC road tour aims to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas with fellowship at Bridge Street

Those in search of shopping bargains might find the true meaning of Christmas – along with a festive cup of cocoa.

An easy-to-find, bedecked tour truck will be the centerpiece of “The True Meaning of Christmas Tour” festivities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 23 at Bridge Street Town Centre, 365 The Bridge St. The truck is hitting the road in 16 states this year as The United Methodist Church visits 21 communities to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas. Asbury, Lowe’s Chapel, St. Peter’s and St. Paul-Triana United Methodist churches will host the come-and-go event. The whole community is invited.

Giving back to the community is part of the package. There will be a collection of canned goods and coats to benefit those in need in the Huntsville community. Tour participants can bring their donations to the event.

“We want to offer our community a different type of gift: an opportunity to celebrate what Christmas is all about by engaging in service with neighbors, boosting joy and building relationships with others,” said the Rev. Marcus Singleton, pastor at West Huntsville UMC. “We are also extending an invitation to attend a place of worship or become part of a faith community.”

A survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2013 indicated that the activities that people least liked at Christmas time are the commercialism/materialism, money/expense, and shopping/crowds. What they most look forward to is spending time with family and friends (69%) and religious reflection/church (11%).

“This tour is a unique way for the church to reach out to people who are experiencing loneliness or who want to give back to the community at this significant time of year,” said Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, which is coordinating the month-long expedition. “More than 500 volunteers from local United Methodist churches are partnering with us to make this a multi-state effort.”

The True Meaning of Christmas Tour will stop in 21 cities, Dec. 2 through Dec. 24. Follow the tour online at UnwrapChristmas.org and #UnwrapChristmas.