Group organizing troop care packages for holidays

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CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Corissa Breeden of Clovis brushes up on her social networking skills during a break Wednesday at the Hastings coffee shop. Breeden’s suggestion on Facebook to gather items for deployed troops has turned in Operation Home Front Cares, which will put together care packages for military members and military working dogs […]

Christmas candy cane taunts me

The first few days after Christmas are magical. OK, maybe that’s not the best word. Instead, let’s go with, “really really good.” That’s the best way I can think of to describe the post-holiday sales. The half-off wrapping and candy works for everybody. We get cheap stuff that will work next Christmas (and other holidays […]

McGee: Christmas lights make town sparkle

By Grant McGee: CNJ columnist The joke goes, “You know you’re from New Mexico if you leave your Christmas lights up year round.” No worries about that around our house; The Lady of the House had Christmas packed up a couple of days ago, lights and all. “That’s it,” she said, smacking her hands together. […]

Family holidays can be trying times

Most families make special arrangements to get together for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. There’s a belief that family gatherings are joyous, love-filled events. Maybe not. I know one family that pretty much decided that love-filled stuff was a myth. The last such gathering they had, several years ago, left them wondering if their family is somehow […]

Christmas more than just a day

Curtis Shelburne “Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to something beyond all emotions and feelings,” writes Henri Nouwen. “Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to a hope based on God’s initiative, which has nothing to do with what I think or feel. Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine.” Christmas is […]

Firefighters, others work through holiday

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CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson International House of Pancakes manager Joan Wilson, front, helps cook Rusty Beevers prepare meals Saturday afternoon. The two said they were working their second Christmas with the restaurant and customer flow was consistent throughout the day. Kevin Wilson The dry roads and mid-40s temperatures made it clear there would be […]

Gift cards ease shopping

Karl Terry Did you get a little piece of plastic in your stocking this Christmas? Business experts say Americans gave a record amount of gift cards this Christmas. According to the National Retail Foundation the average person in the U.S. gave $145.61 in gift cards this year. Nearly $25 billion was likely spent this year […]

In search of ponies: Christmas adventure for house pets

Sharna Johnson ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even the mouse… When out from the living room there arose such a clatter I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter… When what to my wandering eyes should appear but my dog shredding […]

Grant McGee: Christmas special every year

Grant McGee Christmas means many things to many folks. For Christians its the birth of Christ. For Pagans it means the rebirth of the Sun. And for folks who like presents and things it’s a great time to get stuff from Santa Claus. This Christmas Day I’m thinking about great December 25ths I have known. […]

Friday morning briefing: Christmas cheer, odd traditions and a Flood of free agents

Good morning and welcome to the Freedom New Mexico Friday briefing. Merry Christmas! From all the folks at Freedom New Mexico, Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year. Special meeting The Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents is set to meet 11 a.m. Tuesday in special session to consider a solar project contract. […]

a view from under the pew: the mystery and miracle of christmas

Gary Mitchell: Religion columnist amos the churchmouse:a view from under the pewEditor’s note: When Amos went shopping recently for a tiny little red flashing light to decorate the Christmas tree sprig he had propped against his cozy matchbox home, he encountered the trials and tribulations of last-minute Christmas shoppers. In frustration, he called out for […]

Local charities say giving season has been good

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CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Volunteer Connie Cordova, left, hands Angel Tree gifts to Jaylyn Price, middle and Isaiah Sena Thursday at the Salvation Army. Liliana Castillo Need rises around Christmas, but it doesn’t go away after the twinkle lights are taken down and the presents are opened. United Way Executive Director Erinn Burch said […]

Jesus’ birth ignites hope for all people

Freedom New Mexico This year might be a good one to contemplate just how unlikely and yet inspiring the Christmas story is. Christmas, of course, celebrates the birth of Jesus, who, Christians believe, came to Earth to save humankind from its multifarious sins and transgressions, to offer hope of salvation to those who believe. Yet […]

Christmas dinner takes year of planning

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Freedom New Mexico: Clarence Plank Joe Garcia, co-owner of El Rancho Restaurant, places a pan in the buffet bar in preparation for the free Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. Clarence Plank The Garcia family starts planning a year in advance for the annual free Christmas dinner at El Rancho Restaurant. Co-owner Joe Garcia said every […]

Christmas wishes may not happen

Kevin Wilson I’m hard to shop for, so I like to build wish lists. Here are a couple of things that don’t fit on standard wish lists, though. n I wish people would actually do what they promise when they run for election, and the recent compromise between President Obama and Republicans on extending the […]

Tuesday morning briefing: Dinner for airmen, resolutions and a film classic

Good morning and welcome to the Freedom New Mexico Tuesday briefing. Christmas eve First Presbyterian Church in Portales has scheduled its annual Community Christmas Eve Service for 11 p.m. Friday. The service includes special music, readings and traditional Christmas hymns. And, First Baptist Church is holding a Christmas Eve service at 6 p.m. Friday. Both […]

Peace during holiday chaos possible

Karl Terry Peace at Christmas can mean a lot of different things to each of us. A Facebook posting from a high school classmate this week asked the question of her friends, What was at the top of our prayer list these days? I noticed that more than half the answers that came back mentioned […]

Mom’s letter greatest Christmas gift

Curtis Shelburne I received a nice Christmas present this morning that was truly a surprise: a letter from my mom. One glance at the envelope told me who it was from. No reading required. My mother’s handwriting was the most beautiful I have ever seen. She could have written the book on perfect cursive and […]

Religion calendar — Dec. 17

Saturday Christmas seconds and rummage sale — 8 a.m., 1320 W. 21st. Held by the Trinity United Methodist Women. Coffee House Inter-denominational concert — 7 p.m., First Methodist Church on Sycamore Street. Every second Saturday of the month. No meeting for December. Next meeting is Jan. 8. Bring own CD or instruments. Free refreshments. Information: […]

Church performance awoke spirit of season

Judy Brandon Always at Christmas I recall the Flat Creek Baptist Church Christmas children’s program over fifty years ago. The children in the church were to tell the Christmas story the Sunday night before Christmas. Daddy was the pastor and on this particular Sunday, my sister Susie had strep throat so mother stayed at home […]