Taking Christmas Spirit on the Road With "The True Meaning of Christmas Tour"

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The United Methodist Church is hitting the road in 16 states this December in a gift-wrapped touring truck, decked out to share fellowship in 21 cities.

The True Meaning of Christmas Tour will travel through 21 cities in 16 states throughout December

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.

Sixteen states, 21 cities, 23 days, 500+ volunteers, 16,400 cups of cocoa, a truckload of Christmas spirit and just one purpose: to help people unwrap the true meaning of Christmas. The United Methodist Church is hitting the road in December in a gift-wrapped touring truck, decked out to share fellowship from city-to-city.

United Methodist churches will host a come-and-go event in each city at a location bustling with holiday foot traffic. The festivities include free hot cocoa, a chance to join in a community service project, such as donating coats or canned goods, and an invitation to join local congregations for Christmas services and events. You can even share prayer requests or engage in a conversation about the true meaning of Christmas.

“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 the denomination’s communication agency. United Methodist Communications is coordinating the month-long expedition in partnership with local churches. “We want to invite everyone to visit a United Methodist church and join with others to continue to explore the true meaning of Christmas.”

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%).

Throughout December, The United Methodist Church will utilize television and digital advertising to explore the true meaning of Christmas as part of a national advertising campaign, “Their words. Our beliefs,” which features children discussing faith. The holiday messages ask, “Children know the true meaning of Christmas. What if we all did?”

Follow the tour online at UnwrapChristmas.org and #UnwrapChristmas as it travels through:

  •     Dec. 2: Waco, Texas
  •     Dec. 3: Dallas, Texas
  •     Dec. 4: Shreveport, Louisiana
  •     Dec. 5: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  •     Dec. 6: Jackson, Mississippi
  •     Dec. 7: Little Rock, Arkansas
  •     Dec. 8: Memphis, Tennessee
  •     Dec. 10: Champaign, Illinois
  •     Dec. 11: Indianapolis, Indiana
  •     Dec. 12: Columbus, Ohio
  •     Dec. 13: Charleston, West Virginia
  •     Dec. 14: Johnstown/Ebensburg, Pennsylvania
  •     Dec. 15: Washington, D.C.
  •     Dec. 16: Virginia Beach, Virginia
  •     Dec. 17: Greenville, North Carolina
  •     Dec. 19: Charleston, South Carolina
  •     Dec. 20: Columbia, South Carolina
  •     Dec. 21: Knoxville, Tennessee
  •     Dec. 22: Metro Atlanta, Georgia
  •     Dec. 23: Huntsville, Alabama
  •     Dec. 24: Nashville, Tennessee

United Methodist congregations will host hot cocoa fellowship events in many cities across the U.S. where the tour truck is not able to visit. These mini-events will extend a warm holiday invitation to connect with a local community of faith.

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About The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church has more than 12.7 million members globally and is in mission in more than 120 countries. It is the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., with 32,000+ churches. Our mission is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our tagline "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." embraces who we are and how we seek to put our faith in action. Learn more at UMC.org.

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Diane Degnan
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