The House of Christmas by G.K. Chesterton
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.
I first read Chesterton’s poem The House of Christmas when I was in my early twenties and loved it from the first reading. It has been a part of every Christmas for me since then – now nearly 40 years later. Malcolm Guite included it in his remarkable collection of poetry for Advent titled Waiting on Word and he offers a beautiful reading of it here. A good post to read regarding Chesterton’s love of Christmas and his writing about it is here.
May the sheltering peace of Christ be yours!
Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner. A grateful lover of the Triune God, Lancia is passionate about the disciple making. Reflecting that calling, she is Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of Cultivating Good | True | Beautiful, and founder of The Cultivating Project, a discipling initiative for Christians engaged in the arts. Lancia is a board member and patron of the Anselm Society, and Regional Representative of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. She is President and CEO of a thriving environmental construction firm based in northern Colorado which she runs with her husband Peter. They are parents to seven children, and are grandparents to a beloved flock of grandchildren. Lancia loves strong coffee and cinnamon, writing, website design, David Austin roses, and nearly every book she ever read by C.S. Lewis, J.R. R. Tolkien, and George MacDonald.