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Ancient, unwritten protocols for Christmas sermons suggest that preachers emphasize the joyful, childlike dimensions of this great Solemnity rather than the profoundly serious and penetrating aspects of the Incarnation, the key doctrine underlying Christmas, and one of the four fundamental truths of Christian faith. In a sense, Easter is a highly appropriate time for sermonizing on the latter – all of Holy Week, for that matter. Yet the Incarnation – the Son of God’s assumption of human nature through the consent of the Virgin Mary – remains a theme that somehow must be focused upon, year after year, at all the Christmas Masses.
When preaching or writing or even thinking about the Incarnation, one knows from the start that one cannot avoid stuttering; the Mystery is ineffable. Yet try we must.
Recall Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Grotto of the Nativity; he entered the Chamber of the Manger quite alone, barring television cameras, and even a trusted aide. He must be surrounded by absolute silence; the human being is but a creature, albeit the glory of all creation, in the presence of the infinite, almighty Creator. One thinks of Moses before the burning bush, where the very ground is eternally sanctified, and the most noble creature immediately feels the need to remove his or her sandals.
But the key existential lesson of the Incarnation requires special emphasis every Christmas. In other words, what does the Incarnation mean to us, for us? How can it make our lives more meaningful – more tolerable, in a most fundamental way?
This very question was recently addressed by Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa in Madrid’s leading newspaper El Pais. Discussing Pope Benedict XVI’s highly successful visit to Spain earlier this year, Vargas Llosa argued that to men and women still mesmerized by atheism as the only answer to key global problems relating to civilization and personal fulfillment, "the idea of definitive extinction will continue to be intolerable to the ordinary person, who will find in faith that hope of life after death which they have never been able to relinquish."
Thus, the existential message of the Incarnation, as expressed by a literary giant of our contemporary scene.
Vargas Llosa is saying for our 21st century what has been said thousands of times for centuries past – what has been said by sages, philosophers, psychologists and theologians from times immemorial; specifically, that all fears and anxieties can be reduced ultimately to one terrifying ghost, the certainty of death, and with it, the specter of extinction.
The great St. Augustine, who ranks alongside a handful of theological superstars, wrestled with this issue as early as the fourth century in the enduring classic, The City of God, when he wrote: "From the first moment we find ourselves in a mortal body, something happens within us which steadily leads us toward death… Each one of us is nearer death a year hence than a year ago, nearer tomorrow than he was today… Our entire lifetime is… a racing toward death…"
Such is the truth set forth by reason alone or philosophy, and, of course, confirmed through Revelation. It is also a truth which modern empirical psychologists have pondered and attempted to work upon in almost countless theories, several impacting man’s existence in the world today. Thus, Martin Heidegger, whose depressing ideas about Being and Time have thoroughly penetrated modern society, defined man as, simply, "Being-toward-death." (The German reads, Sein zum Tode.) According to Heidegger, the human being (you and I) is simply "thrown" into existence (Geworfenkeit) and in the midst of Dread (Angst) with nothing and no one to come to his help.
This is where Christmas changes the scene for believers such as you and me. Christmas – the Incarnation, the Son of God’s taking on our human nature – is both the key and the light beyond the terrible canyon of death. Christmas introduces the living God and Creator into our very midst with not only the answers but also the spiritual energy to progress forward in a world filled with meaning, since we can be sure that Dread (Angst) cannot overcome us. Christ the Lord has come into our world as our Savior – to gift us with all that we need to find our way in the darkest areas of the tunnel of life, where the light shines without interruption, showing us the way and the destination both.
God-is-with-us! Christmas assures us of this truth, so beautifully encapsulated in the Hebrew word chosen by Isaiah: Emmanuel. He is not simply the Eternal Other but God-in-our-midst. Born at Bethlehem, he lives (present tense indicative) and walks with us, guiding us. And he awaits us now, as our ultimate goal. (All these verbs are present tense indicative!)
This is why Christmas is so meaningful to an adult; it is not simply meant for children. Truly Mozart-like, its joy rests on, and emanates from, the profoundly awesome Mystery of an Incarnate God. Hence, we pray in caroling today, "Fall on your knees … O hear the angel voices, O night divine, O night when Christ was born."

Events Calendar

April 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
Date :  April 11, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
05:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
Date :  April 13, 2014
14
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
06:00 PM
Confessions will be heard in every parish in the Archdiocese of Hartford from 6-7 p.m. Mondays thorughout [...]
Date :  April 14, 2014
15
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
11:00 AM
Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford
Date :  April 15, 2014
16
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
Date :  April 16, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
08:00 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Commemoration of the Lord’s Supper
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 17, 2014
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03:00 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Commemoration of the Lord's Passion
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
05:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
07:30 PM
St. Frances Cabrini Church, North Haven, North Haven, United States
The Living Stations of the Cross will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday at St. Frances Cabrini [...]
07:30 PM
St. Catherine of Siena Church, West Simsbury, Simsbury, United States
WEST SIMSBURY – Christ’s Seven Last Words, proclaimed as he hung upon the Cross on the first Good [...]
12:00 AM
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 18, 2014
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04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
11:00 AM
Raffia Shopping Plaza, Enfield, Enfield, United States
ENFIELD – “Baby Steps,” the annual family walk for life, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 19, 2014
20
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:00 AM
Date :  April 20, 2014
21
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 21, 2014
22
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 22, 2014
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06:00 PM
Mercy Hall, University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
WEST HARTFORD – The Art Gallery at the University of St. Joseph (USJ) will present the 2014 Vincenza Uccello Fine Arts Lecture featuring [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 23, 2014
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07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Dr. Tim Gray's study of the Gospel of Luke expliains the fundamental themes of Jesus' messianic mission. [...]
07:00 PM
St. Brigid Parish, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The St. Brigid Ladies Guild annual Monte Carlo Whist Party will be held at 7 p.m. April 24 in St. Brigid [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:00 AM
St. Martha School, Enfield, Enfield, United States
St. Martha School in Enfield will hold an open house on Thursday, April 24, from 10-11:30 a.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Tours will be conducted; and teachers, students, parents of students and administrators will [...]
Date :  April 24, 2014
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06:30 PM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
An international food, wine and beer tasting will be held to benefit Immaculate Conception Shelter and [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 25, 2014
26
04:00 PM
Connor Chapel, University of St. Joseph
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School in Newington will host its annual wine and beer tasting event from 6:30-9:30 pm. March 1. [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School's annual wine tasting and auction will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 26. The event will be hosted by NBC TV personality Brad Field.  Some of the items to be [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
07:30 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, will present music and prayer for the Easter seaso at 7:30 p.m. [...]
09:00 AM
St. Monica Church, Northford, Northford, United States
NORTHFORD – St. Monica's Rosary Society will have its spring craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 [...]
09:00 AM
St. Mary-St. Michael School, Derby, Derby, United States
DERBY – Back by popular demand, organizers say, St. Mary-St. Michael School will sponsor a community shred day from 9 a.m. to noon April 26 at the school, located at 14 Seymour Ave.  Eco Shred [...]
09:30 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
"Making Friends with the False Self," a contemplative prayer program, will be presented by Father Bill [...]
Date :  April 26, 2014
27
02:30 PM
St. Ann Church, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St.  Ann Church in Bristol will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 27 with a Mass at 2:30 p.m. [...]
03:00 PM
Mary Our Queen Church, Plantsville, Southington, United States
Divine Mercy Holy Hour - Mary Our Queen Church, Southington, 3-4 p.m. April 27th.  Benediction, Homily, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Veneration of relic of St. [...]
03:00 PM
Legion of Christ Seminary, Cheshire, Cheshire, United States
A Divine Mercy Holy Hour will be held at 3 p.m. April 27 at the Legion of Christ Seminary in Cheshire. It [...]
04:00 PM
St. Michael Church, Litchfield CT
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:45 PM
Charter Oak Cultural Center/Riverfront Mortensen Plaza, Hartford, United States
NEW HAVEN – The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) of the Archdiocese of Hartford, in [...]
Date :  April 27, 2014
28
29
07:00 PM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
Date :  April 29, 2014
30
07:00 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – Caritas Christi Center will sponsor a day bus trip to St. Joseph the Worker Shrine in Lowell, [...]
07:00 PM
St. Anthony Parish Center, New Haven, New Haven, United States
The St. Anthony Society of St. Anthony Parish will have its 37th annual raffle and card party at 7 p.m. April 30 in [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Plainville, Plainville, United States
Our Lady of Mercy Parish will offer a five-part program for lay Catholics titled “We the People of [...]
Date :  April 30, 2014

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