“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.

–G.K. Chesterton, “The House of Christmas” in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Volume X: Collected Poetry, Part I, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994), 139-40.

3 thoughts on ““The House of Christmas” by G.K. Chesterton

  1. dorahak – The unearned splendor of being means we can always meet on a common plane of gratitude, aiming in conversation, art, or writing towards “something understood.”
    Dorah A. K. on said:

    Thank you for sharing this interesting verse from Chesterton. And Merry Christmas!

  2. Bryana Joy – York, England – Bryana Joy is a writer, poet, and full-time artist who makes her living sending illustrated snail mail letters all over the world. She spent her childhood in the Middle East and is currently in the middle of a one-year sojourn in York, England with her husband. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in over a dozen literary magazines, including, most recently, The Ekphrastic Review, Foundling House, and Fathom. Bryana takes delight in thunderstorms, loose-leaf tea, green countrysides, and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. You can follow her work on Instagram (@_bryana_joy) and on her personal website: www.bryanajoy.com.
    bryanajoy on said:

    It makes me so happy to see other people enjoying Chesterton at Christmastime. :) His Christmas poems are some of my favorite things about celebrating Christmas. Especially this one and The Wise Men. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: The House of Christmas | INSPIRATION with an ATTITUDE

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