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By Roberta McGowan
Sopris Sun Staff

Whether you deck the halls, light the candles, celebrate the New Year or meditate at the end of 2020 and are just glad it’s gone, the holiday season remains a very special time in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Throughout the area, spiritual leaders understand many people are feeling grateful for what they already have and are looking forward to a better 2021.
For whatever religious calling you follow, note a variety of commemorations and special events are taking place in local communities.

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Roman Catholic
The Rev. Rick Nakvasi of the Roman Catholic St. Mary’s of the Crown and St. Vincent Roman Catholic Churches, whose parishioners refer to him as Fr. Rick, announced both churches are having more Christmas masses than normal so less people will attend each.
Go to to sign up for the two Christmas Eve masses and also to see the full schedule of Christmas Day Masses in both English and Spanish.
When asked what Christmas means to him, Fr. Rick referred to an explanation from Pope Benedict in 2006 who said, “God’s sign is simplicity. God’s sign is the baby. God’s sign is that He makes Himself small for us. This is how He reigns.”
Beginning the Catholic church’s liturgical year, Advent (from, “ad-venire” in Latin or “to come to”) is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas.

Rabbi Emily Segal of the Aspen Jewish Congregation explained Chanukah is “the light to dispel the darkness.”
The Jewish observance of Chanukah began Dec. 8 and continues to Dec. 18. Candles are lit each evening to commemorate rededication of the Holy Temple after the Jewish people battled the Syrian-Greeks and what they believed was a miracle.
All services and programs are currently online only, unless otherwise noted. Go to for the complete holiday schedule. Those wishing to following the Shabbat service with an online prayer book can go to for the Mishkan T’filah, a prayer book prepared for for Reform Jewish congregations around the world by the Central Conference of American Rabbis Jewish congregations around the world.

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In Carbondale, the Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist (TRUU) will celebrate the Winter Solstice for the tenth year as part of the congregation’s connection with the earth and the community.
According to Christina Wenning, office assistant, TRUU’s gala solstice celebration honors the wisdom of pagan traditions as the seasons turn back toward the light and the sun. This year, the celebration will take place via Zoom and may include a nod to the Nordic god of skiing, skating and snow, Ullr. Contact for sign in information.

The Rev. Kimberlee Law is the Partnership Vicar, the Episcopal Church in Garfield County which includes St. Barnabas, Glenwood Springs, St. John’s, New Castle and All Saints, Battlement Mesa.
She noted upcoming events will consist of a Service of Lessons and Carols online and a Candlelight Christmas Eve Worship at St. Barnabas, a brief outdoor service to hear the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Candles are provided.
Masks and physical distancing will be required. Go to for the full schedule.

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