Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Christmas in August with Chesterton
Christ is, as Chesterton calls him in this famous book, the Everlasting Man. And yet he is also very much a man. Flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone. As I have been reading The Everlasting Man it is as if the reader is drawn out of the cave of man's errant philosophical and mythological patterns into the light, albeit the light of another cave. Not one lit from the outside but from within. A cave that is the dwelling place of man...and God. The cave (as Chesterton calls it) of Bethlehem. So, why not celebrate a little Christmas in August with Chesterton!
This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a shadow of such fancy in the fact that animals were again present; for it was a cave used as a stable by the mountaineers of the uplands about Bethlehem; who still drive their cattle into such holes and caverns at night. It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravans had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passerby, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born. But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God was also a CaveMan, and, had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously coloured upon the wall of the world; but the pictures that he made had come to life. (G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, p. 105)