Speaking of Advent, my contribution to the college’s annual devotional series will appear in a couple of days. However, this popped up in my e-mail this morning, courtesy of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute‘s faculty newsletter.
Although I’m on the other side of the Tiber, I have to cop to some disappointment on hearing that a cause for G.K. Chesterton’s sainthood had recently failed. For one thing, I think he’d make a wonderful patron for crime writers, and as with Dr. Johnson, I’m always going to cheer for large, clumsy men of faith who write. His supporters say that their sainthood campaign will continue. (Of course, in my territory, all of us in the Church Universal are of the saints of God, but I’d like to see G.K.’s home team give him official props.)
In any case, he wrote a lovely Christmas poem. I hope you like it as well.
The House of Christmas
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.
This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.