“Quartet and Chorus of the Magi”

By |2019-01-05T23:18:18-05:00January 5th, 2019|

Editor's Note: Hector Berlioz's "Quartetto e coro dei maggi" ("Quartet and Chorus of the Magi") was written sometime around the year 1832 but not published until 1902. The author of the text is not known, though it might well have been Berlioz himself. Below is the original Italian text and an English translation, followed by [...]

“The God in the Cave”

By |2018-12-21T02:55:29-05:00December 24th, 2018|

This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a [...]

Finding Faith in the Manger: Berlioz’s “Infancy of Christ”

By |2018-12-24T23:13:02-05:00December 24th, 2018|

Could anything as tender and touching as L’Enfance du Christ have been written by a man who did not believe? One hopes that Hector Berlioz was able to find the Christmas that he portrayed so beautifully... The poet Wallace Stevens once wrote that “The major poetic idea in the world is and always has been [...]

Should We Teach Our Children to Believe in Santa Claus?

By |2018-12-24T17:39:34-05:00December 23rd, 2018|

Christmastime is upon us once more. To some it is a season filled with virtues: joy, fellowship, and charity; to others a season of vices: commercialism, avarice, and selfishness. It is a time when the secular and the sacred come together in peace, but it can also be a time when the two realms are [...]

The Eve of the Eve: A Christmas Story

By |2018-12-22T22:56:34-05:00December 23rd, 2018|

It was still dark outside when the boy awakened and his thoughts immediately turned to the gifts that would be awaiting him under the tree downstairs. This year, like every other year he could recall, the tree was a little too tall for the ceiling and leaned precariously toward the fireplace opening. In his [...]

Christmas Gifts That Will Help Your Children Get to Heaven

By |2018-12-21T13:16:20-05:00December 21st, 2018|

For those agonizing over what to buy this Christmas for their toddlers, the wait may be over. A panel of experts has just weighed in with suggestions targeting young children in the digital age. What do the experts say? Do they recommend a family-friendly video game that might be good fun and improve motor [...]

In Search of the “Everlasting Man”

By |2018-12-19T22:53:15-05:00December 19th, 2018|

Of late I’ve grown rather cool toward Christmas. It’s a curious development. When I was a child, Christmas seemed the height of magic and mystery. Now when people ask me my favorite holidays, I answer Easter and Thanksgiving. I reason that the Resurrection and Gratitude are two of the best things there are, and [...]

Baking Christmas Eve Bread: A Recipe for Soothing Souls

By |2018-12-18T22:16:54-05:00December 18th, 2018|

Many years ago, as a young diplomat straining to learn French, I was amused to realize that the French word for bread is spelled pain. Of course, it is not pronounced as such, but being steadfastly immature well into adulthood, I was nonetheless inclined to laugh each time I saw the word. For me, bread [...]

Twelve Ways to Christmas

By |2019-02-05T11:08:04-05:00December 16th, 2018|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Joseph Mussomeli, as he considers Christmas as a revolution of the heart against the demands of this world for balancing the scales and righting every wrong with a hard justice. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher I. When the Outlandish Is the Only [...]

The Incarnation of Truth and Love

By |2018-12-21T15:55:51-05:00December 15th, 2018|

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The gospel of St. John is the most poetic of the gospels and contains the highest Christology of the gospel accounts of Jesus Christ. Some scholars see a division of the work in thematic groups—the book of [...]

A Christmas with Imaginary Conservatives

By |2018-12-13T11:29:47-05:00December 13th, 2018|

This Christmas I’m taking a leap of the imagination into the home of a family of imaginary conservatives. It is Christmas morning and I arrive, as if by magic, down the chimney, just as the family is gathering round the tree. Dusting myself off, I announce myself as the family’s long lost relative, Uncle Digory [...]

Fine Fountain Pens for Christmas

By |2018-12-13T10:04:54-05:00December 13th, 2018|

As I reflected on our annual assignment of suggesting gifts for our imaginative conservative brothers and sisters, I struggled with ideas until Thanksgiving morning came. As I gave thanks for so many people in my life, my mind wondered over the material gifts I had been given over the years. There are many great books [...]

A Christmas That Almost Was

By |2018-12-11T16:15:14-05:00December 11th, 2018|

December 1969 (New Jersey) “Christmas,” the old priest snarled, “is an outrage!” He looked about the classroom, hoping to have awakened at least a few students. “Christmas violates the laws of nature and of man.” Some students seemed to be attentive, although it was mid-December and even talking about Christmas was too distracting when they [...]

“The Infancy of Christ”

By |2019-03-07T16:15:15-05:00December 11th, 2018|

Editor's Note: Regrettably, Hector Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ is little known today, aside from "The Shepherds' Farewell to the Holy Family," which is often programmed independently of the oratorio on classical Christmas albums. This chorus' gentle character may give the false impression that the 90-minute, tripartite oratorio is entirely a contemplative piece. Yet, as with [...]