It’s Christmas, the day is here and I’m praying it finds you at HOME! In this week’s poem, G. K. Chesterton explores again, Christmas and man’s true home. I hope you enjoy journeying to the manger and unravelling the mysteries you’ll find there.
There fared a mother driven forth Out of an inn to roam; In the place where she was homeless All men are at home.
Where is that place, where she was forced to roam, homeless, and all men are at home. In Bethlehem she was homeless and all men are at home? How are all men at home in Bethlehem? Her tense is past “was homeless,” our (“all men”) tense is present “are at home.” That place was a homeless place for Mary but became, and is for us today, a home.
How did it become a home for all men?
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.
A stable is a crazy place to have a child. But this child was like no other. He and the church, the body of Christ, would grow into “a stronger thing” than all the achievements of Man (stones of Rome). This would be our home that still abides and stands, longer than the kingdoms of man. Christ and His kingdom abides and stands forever beyond the Earth.
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.
“For” – Why is that which grew out of the stable in Bethlehem, the strongest thing. Why are we so at home with Christmas (in Christ) and homeless everywhere else?
Here we start to see one of the roots of C.S. Lewis’ definition of joy as “longing.” Perhaps his “argument from desire” started here?
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
We are homesick, strangers in a foreign (strange) land, not because this world was created unsuitable for man, but it has become that way due to the fall. Separated from our creator by our choice to take the reins and not depend on Him, we no longer draw our life from the source of life. Now our true home is elsewhere, with Him.
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.
Back in the garden, we took our independence, to make (fashion) and to know on our own. But we lost our heart, our connection to our source of meaning and love. No earthly (under the sky’s dome) wisdom (chart) or creation (ship) of man can show or take us there.
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.
But our rest and our peace we cannot find here. They are found where the meaning of the myths were fulfilled, they became real where the impossible star showed the way to a manger, where God became one of us to bring us home
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.