MINFORD — The true story of Christmas will be expressed through The Christmas Cave, a new, self-guided Christmas light spectacular to be presented in the White Gravel Mines, 4007 White Gravel McDaniel Road in Minford, Ohio. Open nightly Nov. 25, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and every Friday and Saturday from Thanksgiving weekend until Christmas Eve. It is free and open to the public.
The Christmas Cave is managed by Tom and Mindy Martin, along with Bryan and Lori Davis. Together with the faithful board members of the White Gravel Mines Productions (WGMP), their mission is to educate everyone about our Savior’s birth.
Tom Martin said The Christmas Cave serves as a tool to teach about the true meaning of Christmas.
“This is a big teaching tool is what it is. When we were envisioning what we were trying to do with this, I came across an article which was published in the UK (United Kingdom) Telegraph, they’d done a survey over there among primary aged children, and they determined that one in four of those kids over there had no idea of what Christmas represents,” Tom Martin said. “Some of them them thought that it was Simon Cowell’s birthday. We got to thinking, just how far off are we in this age? How many kids out there have no clue of what Christmas really represents? With the commercialization, Santa Clause, and all of those other things. Not that there is anything inherently wrong or bad about it, just that it misses the point.”
Concerning the history of White Gravel Mines, the Warren family began mining the white quartz gravel from under the hills of Minford, Ohio at the beginning of the 20th century. Men used the power of dynamite and muscle to burrow out a living by supplying the gravel and sand to the growing industrial needs of the region. They worked the mines through World War II, after which it was abandoned and faded into memory. The Warrens sealed the openings to the mines in the 1970s but trespassing and vandalism became a regular occurrence, according to WGMP.
Once inside of The Christmas Cave, visitors will behold a beautiful exhibit full of bright stars.
“A star field will be projected upon the ceiling, where people will be able to see the constellations, and there will be some other laser lights back there,” Tom Martin said. “When people come up they will see the teaching area over there, and it will explain the scene, that they started out in Bethlehem and now they’ve come to a place where we will be introducing the next scene, which is the Magi. The Magi were looking for something, and it is because God had set signs, and things in the heavens called stars to tell the story. I love the effect of this scene. It makes you think that you are looking at something 20 miles away.”
Mindy Martin, said the stars tell the story about the birth of Jesus Christ.
“My husband has done a lot of research as far as the stars telling the story about the birth and life of Jesus before he was born,” Mindy Martin said. “If you think about the signs, the Virgo represents the virgin birth, and then it goes all the way around to Leo, which represents the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and it kind of gives me chills every time I say that. It talks about how God told a story long before anyone was around to see it.”
Parents and or guardians will have the grand opportunity to converse with their children as they peruse through the exhibits.
“What this place is, honestly is a great, big tool for families to come and bring their families,” Tom Martin said. “What is going to do it for me, is just to walk along and listen as moms and dads talk to and teach their children at each one of these exhibits. That is what we are here for, just to provide a tool for families. It is a new tradition, if you will for families to come out worship the one who Christmas is really all about.”
Opening night, Nov. 25, of The Christmas Cave will also feature Rudd’s Remembrance Night, the family of the Rudd’s Christmas Farm of Blue Creek, Ohio. The Rudd’s Family Singing will be at 8 p.m. Free hot chocolate and candy canes will be served from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information regarding The Christmas Cave or the White Gravel Mines, call 740 776-0510, or email [email protected] or visit the White Gravel Mines Facebook page.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.