There can be sudden unexpected moments in these Advent days that stretch my soul. It may be the way light comes through the stained glass hanging in the window over my kitchen sink, or the pleasure shining in my granddaughter’s face when she helps me make fudge or offers her grandfather a quilt when he says “Is it cold in here to you?” It may be hearing a violin play Ave Maria or when I begin to sing Adeste Fidelis with my church choir, and it most certainly happens when I am playing carols at the piano and my pregnant daughter-in-law tells me our newest granddaughter moves in joy at the music. Often, these moments come as I sit before dawn in our darkened living room with only the Christmas tree lighting the day, grateful for being at home, and the greater wonder of ” the place where God was homeless and all men are at home.”
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.