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 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.

GK Chesterton

Christmas day: an overview

12:00 AM. Midnight Christmas carol service at the Baptist Tabernacle. They gave us candles. Carols and fire — a winning combination. And midnight: don’t forget midnight.

Betty drove home and dived into bed, only to bounce back up again moments later to get ready for Christmas day!

6:40 AM. Drove to the boy person friend’s apartment building. Waited patiently for 7:15 pickup time.

7:05 AM. Gave in. Buzzed boy person friend’s apartment (world’s most horrible noise). Bundled presents, hastily wrapped between work and carol service last night, into the car. Headed to suburbs.

7:30 AM. Picked up boy person friend’s father. Met him at end of driveway, decided not to return for gift bottle of sparkling grape juice so as not to alarm the dog.

9:00 AM. Arrived in Hamilton! Made obligatory drive-by of supermarkets in case one should be open: not the case. Boy person friend’s father gave up idea of replacing bottle of sparkling grape juice.

9: 30 AM. Arrived at church for Christmas morning service. Betty’s two youngest sisters played piano and cello to accompany carols, along with a friend who played violin; all were most talented, making Betty wish very briefly that she had not given up on the violin. Betty’s father, who is the minister, spoke briefly about the Christmas story from the perspective of Mary.

10:45 AM. Went to the home of Betty’s youth. Opened presents, ate olives and pickled onions, drank Christmas punch, Skyped Betty’s London sister, and so on. Finally ate dinner. The omnivores had roast ham and drumsticks, and Betty had curried pasta salad, roast pumpkin salad, more roast vegetables, cranberry sauce, and peas. Dessert was plum pudding, ambrosia and strawberries. It was too hot to go to the park and play Kubb, as originally suggested, so everyone swanned about the house and listened to Betty’s sisters playing music.

5:50 PM. Bundled the boy person friend and his father back into the car and drove back to Auckland. Much snoozing was done on the way, but not by Betty, fortunately.

7:30 PM. Returned the boy person friend’s father to his home. Got the dog a Christmas dinner. He’s very nice.

8:00 PM. Betty and the boy person friend drove to Mt Eden and watched the sunset.

It was a nice day. The end.