Homesick

24 December 2014

Do you feel the ache?

It comes when I stand quietly in the pew, surrounded by upturned faces, my eyes catching on the flickering candles. It comes with the old, old words of the old, old songs that I've sung since I was young and will continue to sing until I have no voice left.

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found

But until that day, the curse is still here. I see it in everything; even when the world is lit up like a glimmering Christmas tree, the ugliness shows. Perhaps it shines in starker contrast. Beneath the sparkle and cheer, there's a faint flickering doubt: so what? My heart aches for the Beyond even as I wrap and fold the paper and struggle to get the bow just right. Things. Things. They're all just things. When will the material fade in light of the Immaterial?

So I fall on my knees in frustration, done with a shiny exterior that never satisfies. Done with the hurry and bustle and stress that seems headed in a bleak direction. There are times when I weary of the chance and honor and high surprise that normally delights. I long to lay my head on the home-shore and feel the pulse of a familiar land.

I think we feel the wildness of the world a little moreso at Christmastime than any other season of the year. Surely the shopping and festivity has a part in that, but I'm speaking of a longing for which there are few words. There's a certain magic in the air that we don't usually sense. Beautifully alien, deliciously homesick. Sehnsucht. It sends a craving rushing through me for a place I've never known, and all the sugar, sounds, and sights can't fill that gap.

In this season of watching and waiting, He welcomes us to Him for the home we so desire.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

'Tis the season for singing through our thirst and making bright our wanderings, because we know they will soon meet their end.

the house of christmas
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 their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honor 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.

o come, o come.

2 epistles:

  1. This poem gave me shivers. Thank you, Chesterton.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful. Yes, Elizabeth, I know this feeling. I have been feeling it distinctly all Christmas-long. You words fit that ache inside of me, and made me sigh. Yes, oh yes!

    But Chesterton's poem. I love it!
    Especially this part,
    "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."


    Merry Christmas, Elizabeth Rose! I pray your Christmas was filled with Christ's hope and peace, despite the aches and sorrows. He is our Light and Joy in a world that is very dark!

    ReplyDelete

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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