In Brief: Live Nativity in Carbondale on Christmas Eve night |

In Brief: Live Nativity in Carbondale on Christmas Eve night

Aspen Times staff report

Live Nativity in Carbondale Christmas Eve

One long-standing and fun tradition that adds a new spin to the candlelight Christmas Eve service is the Live Nativity at The Orchard Life in Carbondale. 

“Most people will come to a candle lighting service, sing carols, tell a Christmas story, and then they will bundle up, get some cider or hot cocoa, and go outside where we’ll have the live Nativity,” Pastor Daniel Self said. 

The Live Nativity is held directly after the 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. services Saturday behind the church, with hot drinks and a fire pit to warm the body and the soul. 

“We want a fun factor but also want to have just that nostalgia and the warm fuzzies that come from the Christmas season, and, when you add all those elements together with the carols, bundled up at the firepit with hot cocoa, it’s a pretty cool environment,” Self said.

The Christmas story is acted out in a homemade barn, so attendees can fully experience the night Jesus was born.

And yes, it was probably a lot warmer in the desert on the night Jesus was born. So the cocoa, cider, and firepit add a little extra warmth in the snowy mountain town. 

They have live actors dress up for each person in the story. The story is told as Joseph, Mary, and Jesus all enter first. Then the shepherds, hark angels, and wisemen make appearances as the tale goes on. There are also live animals.

“Everybody gets in their place as the story is told and we sing the songs,” he said. “At the very end, people can take pictures.”

If you go for the Nativity, you should probably go for the whole service, Self said. The service is under an hour with free child care, a cry room, and live streaming.

“We have candlelight at the end while we sing ‘Silent Night,’ and then, in the middle we have everything from some giveaways, we tell the Christmas story and lots of carols and big band,” he said.

Nearly 600 flights canceled at Denver International

Concerns about illness or inflation aren’t stopping Americans from hitting the roads and airports this holiday season. But, a massive winter storm might.

Forecasters predict an onslaught of heavy snow, ice, flooding and powerful winds from Thursday to Saturday in a broad swath of the country, from the Plains and Midwest to the East Coast. A surge of Arctic air will follow. The Christmas weekend could be the coldest in decades.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday the storm was so large and encompassing that around 190 million people are currently under some type of winter-weather advisory.

In Denver, where the temperature was briefly minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday morning, hundreds of flights were canceled Thursday and Friday.

According to Flight Aware, a service that tracks flights, nearly 600 flights were canceled at DIA on Thursday as of 6:30 p.m., representing about 27% of arrivals and 31% of departures. Another 750 or so flight were delayed as of Thursday evening.

The majority of the flights canceled in Denver on Thursday were Southwest Airlines flights, followed by SkyWest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines. SkyWest is a regional carrier that operates flights for a host of airlines.

About 130 flights scheduled for Friday at DIA had already been canceled, too.

Holiday visitation predicted to drop

Vail Mountain visitation during the upcoming holiday week could be quite the opposite of last season, if predictions hold true.

Part of the reason is something local parents won’t be surprised to hear — the fact that kids are still in school on the Thursday before the Sunday on which Christmas falls.

It’s a much different story than last season, when Christmas fell on a Saturday and many public school students received vacation time for the entire week ahead of the holiday.

In the investment world, that’s called a positive holiday shift, or a visitation bump based on where the holiday falls on the calendar. The inverse effect is a negative holiday shift, which is what we’re seeing this season, Vail Resorts analyst Patrick Scholes pointed out in a report released Thursday.

“In addition to a holiday shift, we see new competitive supply from short-term rentals, the re-opening of international markets such as Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada combined with favorable FX for American travelers, and the return of cruising as a value-priced vacation alternative are putting some pressure on domestic resort hotel occupancy,” wrote Scholes and Gregory J. Miller with Truist Securities. “To be clear, this is not just for U.S. ski resorts, but also for popular U.S. resorts such as beach resorts that saw outsized performance two years into COVID.”

Recently released data from DestiMetrics, a company that collects future booking and pricing data for hotels at Western U.S. ski resorts, shows that shifts in school breaks this year vs. last year mean that there are roughly 38% fewer households with K-12 children available to travel prior to the holiday week.

Former state trooper among those pardoned

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday evening cut short the prison sentences of four inmates and pardoned 20 people, including a former Colorado State Patrol trooper who guarded the state Capitol and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge after pointing a gun at a passing driver near the Denver building in 2021 while he was on duty.

The former trooper, Jay Hemphill, pleaded guilty in Denver earlier this year to misdemeanor menacing. He was sentenced to a year of probation. Polis commuted Hemphill’s sentence and pardoned him. 

Jay Hemphill. (Handout)

“You served the State of Colorado with honor and distinction for twenty-six years, serving and protecting five different governors,” Polis wrote to Hemphill. “You made a mistake in a brief instant when you thought you were under threat, and no one was physically harmed.”

According to an arrest affidavit for Hemphill, the woman said she was driving her truck near the Capitol and attempting to make a right turn onto East 14th from Sherman when Hemphill crossed in front of her vehicle, pulled out his gun, pointed it at her, and started to yell. The encounter was captured on video.

“I was afraid I was going to get shot,” the woman told Denver police. 

The affidavit says Hemphill, who had worked at the Capitol since January 1998 and was a constant presence in the building before the incident, reported the encounter to a Colorado State Patrol sergeant.

Hemphill started working for the Colorado State Patrol in 1995 and was a decorated trooper. In 2007, he shot and killed a 32-year-old man who declared himself “the emperor” while carrying a loaded .357-caliber handgun inside the Capitol. Hemphill received Colorado State Patrol’s highest award for stopping the armed man, Aaron Snyder, shortly after he entered then-Gov. Bill Ritter’s office.

A spokesperson for the State Patrol said Thursday evening that Hemphill left the agency shortly after the 2021 incident.


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