"The place where God was homeless and all men are at home." A manger with a blanket on the side.

“The House of Christmas” by G.K. Chesterton

Even folks who aren’t Christian know the story of the Nativity: baby Jesus born in a barn, surrounded by critters, visited by wealthy strangers.

It’s repeated so often by rote that it starts to lose its wonder, like a word you repeat until you can’t remember what it means. (What is a “dog” anyway?!)

Let’s take a break from the traditional retelling with this intimate yet grand poem by GK Chesterton, who invites us into humble awe as we remember how the Savior of the world entered it—and why.⁣

“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.

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