In the Christmas spirit

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget to stop and have a peaceful moment, enjoy the simplicity of just being with family, or nurture the spirituality that the season calls for. There are dozens of churches in Aspen/Snowmass area serving every denomination, most with holiday services to match. Here are a few of our picks, for those of all faiths.

One of the most unique, simple, and profoundly spiritual experiences can be found at St. Benedict’s Monastery in (Old) Snowmass. Home to the Trappist monks of the Order of St. Benedict, what’s known as the Snowmass monastery sits on a working ranch in secluded grandeur Aspen_MnstryClose— those who attend services there regularly say the drive itself is part of the experience, which feels like a retreat to an older, simpler time. Among its holiday services, St. Benedict’s offers Midnight Mass on Christmas, preceded by caroling at 11:30 pm, Dec. 24. Also on Christmas Eve, lauds are at 5:30 pm and vigils at 10:30 pm; on Christmas Day lauds are at 8:30 am and vespers at 7 pm. All services are open to the public, as is the monastery’s small but extensive ecumenical bookstore. The monastery also has facilities available for retreat.

At the Snowmass Chapel in Snowmass Village, services are aimed at all faiths, and the Christmas Eve candle lighting services are sure to strike a chord with everyone. Three services Smass chapel leadare offered on Dec. 24: the 5 pm celebration is most suitable to families, and the 7 pm and 9 pm ones have full choir and orchestra. The candle-lighting ceremony starts with a single candle and spreads throughout the chapel — a beautiful, meaningful tradition. A Catholic Christmas Mass will be celebrated on December 25, at 5 pm.

The nondenominational Aspen Chapel is known — in part — for its great music, and things are turned up a notch at Christmas. This year’s “Colorado Christmas” includes three Christmas Eve Aspen Chapelservices. A children’s service at 4:30 pm features youth performers telling the Christmas story through words and song, with a special appearance by valley native and musician Obadiah Jones. The family service at 6:30 pm is the homecoming of local band Slightly White; this service is ideal for families with teens and young adults. And at the 8:30 pm service, legendary Aspen musicians Bobby Mason, Haden Gregg, and Ellen Stapenhorst perform. All services are led by the Chapel’s Reverend Gregg Anderson, and include Christmas carols.

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and blessed holiday season!


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