Vail area ministers talk about how the old story of Christmas resonates in the world today |

Vail area ministers talk about how the old story of Christmas resonates in the world today

We may see pre-pandemic levels of attendance at local churches

The Vail Interfaith Chapel has been renovated and is ready to welcome the faithful for Christmas Eve services. Churches throughout the valley are celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Vail Interfaith Chapel/Courtesy photo

The Christmas story has been told by Christians for 2,000 years or so. But that story still resonates among believers.

At Grace Lutheran Church in Edwards, Pastor Jason Haynes said this year’s theme is that Jesus came for the broken.

What the angel said

“And the angel said to (the shepherds)… to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
— The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2

“This should be a time of happiness,” Haynes said. “But if you’re hurting that seems harder… the broken is the reason for Christmas… and we’re all broken.”

Father Brooks Keith of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration noted that the Christmas story has Jesus born in a manger — a barn, basically.

Neither the angels nor the shepherds nor the wise men came to the inn, Keith noted. Instead, they were all in the barn out back.

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The significance of that humble birth, Keith added, is that Christmas can arrive anywhere and at any time.

Keith was on a sabbatical in September. On Sept. 2, this year’s Christmas message came to him and hasn’t changed, Keith said.

“That’s all I need for Christmas,” he said.

Keith said he’s looking forward to something like a normal year, with both local residents and guests turning out for the services at the Vail and Beaver Creek interfaith chapels. And, he added, the refurbished chapels in both Vail and Beaver Creek are “gorgeous,” and ready to welcome the faithful.

That’s part of the Christmas message of hope, Keith said. But, he added, “Hope’s not a strategy, it’s a reality. It’s a way to engage with the world.”

The message of hope resonates through Christmas Eve services, as does the Advent message of anticipation.

Tim Wilbanks is the pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, which also worships at the interfaith chapels in Vail and Beaver Creek.

Wilbanks said he always delivers a “very traditional” message.

“It’s about the anticipation, the expectancy,” Wilbanks said. But “expectancy” is different from “expectation,” he added.

“Expectancy opens us to myriad possibilities,” Wilbanks said. “One never knows what a new day will bring… but the lord will show up.”

With all that’s going on in the world, we never know how life will play out, Wilbanks said. But the lord remains constant.

At Connect Church in Gypsum, Pastor Hector Gonzalez said he plans to focus on the story of Jesus’ birth, and “how we need to stay true to his message — what Christ brought to us, and his purpose of why we’re here.

“It’s good to have a message that doesn’t change,” Gonzalez said of the Christmas story. “If the message stays true, we can stay true.”

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