I thank God for technology. I come across things through technology and social media that otherwise I would not be wise enough to seek out, especially around meaningful seasons and significant events. I also thank God for tradition. Tradition is that all-too-often-forgotten great pillar of the Church through which we interpret truth as the activity of God in the past informs our understanding of the present and future. Some of the richest treasures of the Church are some of the oldest. Fortunately, time sifts out the unenduring.
I found a treasure this Christmas for the first time that was handed down to me from unknowing saints of another generation through social media. If you have never encountered it either, I pray it blesses you as you meditate on it in the last week of the Advent season, the time in which we remember and celebrate the glorious epiphany of the Incarnation – God is with us. Hallelujah.
“The House of Christmas”
a poem by G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936)
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.