Looking through Christmas cards recently, I saw a postcard that said in big, bold letters, "Experience Christmas."
I thought, "I am experiencing Christmas." Aren't we all?
For weeks, most of us have been shopping, decorating and baking at warp speed.
But of course, that's not what this holiday season is all about. None of those things convey the true meaning of Christmas, but somehow we all seem to get tied up in these meaningless tasks.
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The postcard piqued my interest, so I looked into who sent it and why. It turned out a new church called The Village mailed the cards to local neighborhoods.
I talked with the originators, pastor Fred Whaples and his wife, Cathi.
"The Village Church is all about life, stories, friendship and faith," Fred Whaples said. "Life consists of good times and bad, ups and downs, rights and wrongs .... It is through life we develop and write our stories, the tales that make up our journey.
"We want people to come and share their lives, their stories.... As we share our lives and stories with each other, we can begin to understand the life more abundant and free."
The Village Church was launched in August by the Whaples and a small group of devoted people who wanted to create an environment where people could tangibly experience God. Now they are announcing the public debut at 7 p.m. Tuesday of a production called "Experience Christmas."
National storytelling champion Suzi "Mama" Whaples, president of the West Virginia Storytelling Guild, will share her award-winning story "Red Balloon." Local soloist Taylor Draper will sing, and the band 12 Stone from the Atlanta area will play.
"I hope people leave that night hugging their kids, kissing their spouse and thanking God for their family and friends," Whaples said. "I hope by the end of the evening people have experienced what's inside Christmas and all the temporal things of the season have yielded to the more glorious thought of hope, joy, love and peace."
The Village Church meets on Tuesday evenings. Sunday evening community outreach and small groups will begin Jan. 3, and Sunday morning experiences will begin March 7. For details go to www.thevillagechurch.us.