Christmas Week Day - Friday
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
G.K. Chesterton begins his poem “The House of Christmas” with the poignant image of the homeless Virgin Mary, driven forth into the wilderness as she prepares to give birth to Christ. Chesterton’s poem beautifully illustrates the poverty that God takes on in the Incarnation. Christ left the richness of heaven to take on the limitation of human flesh; he left his home to come dwell in ours. The wonderful paradox at the heart of the Incarnation is that, as C.S. Lewis says, “the Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God”.
Chesterton highlights humanity’s homelessness on earth. Why are we homeless? Because our true, final home is heaven and earth is only a place of grace-filled pilgrimage. In the Incarnation, however, heaven reached down and embraced the earth. Where the infant God enters into our world, there we find our heart’s desire.
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
The world is a strange place where we are called to work and wonder and wage the war against evil, but we discover that our deepest peace is found in a reality beyond this world. That moment in the stable of Bethlehem is the pinnacle of the impossible: the infinite God becomes a finite man, angel wings beat the air around an animal trough, and a star in the heavens proclaims that God has descended into this place and time. Our home is in the heart of God; our home is in the presence of the adorable child Jesus. This Christmas, let us discover the poverty of our homelessness and let our hearts come home to rest in the poor, beautiful Lord.
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”