Many people, even a lot of Christians, tend to think of Christmas as a single day, and that the "12 Day of Christmas" are just a reference to a silly song about getting a bunch of bizarre gifts that we used to sing as children. However, the twelve days are what used to be called Christmastide and it referred to the period of time between Christmas Eve and sunset of January 5th. It was a time of celebration, prayer, and spending time with friends and family.
In an era when far too many people make their lives busier than they should be or worse, let themselves be lulled into a self-induced ennui by means of all the electronic creature comforts that surround us, perhaps it is time for us to rethink how we look at Christmas. We should make an earnest effort to bring back the term "Christmastide" as a way to remind ourselves to slow down and appreciate the entire Christmas season, and not just what often times ends up being one frenzied day.
With that in mind, below is G.K. Chesterton's famous poem "The House of Christmas", if you are so inclined, take time this Christmastide to read it yourself or read it out loud to your family. Even challenge your children to learn, understand, and memorize it. For while Chesterton was a very profound thinker, he had a penchant for translating his lofty ideas into pithy prose and rhythmic poetry, and "The House of Christmas" is no exception. It encapsulates in a few stanzas how an infinite God so loved us, that he became one of us in the humblest of settings.
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.
From all of us here at The Everyman, we thank you for your continued readership and we would like to wish all of you a very blessed Christmastide.
Photo Credit- her.ie