"The House of Christmas"
G. K. Chesterton (1899)
It’s one of the great paradoxes of human life that we so often find ourselves strangers in a strange land. “Bury me not on the lone prairie,” begs the dying lad in the old cowboy song, as he longs to be laid beside his father, far away. But though they are friendly to him, they do not heed his request. The patriarch Joseph, as he lay dying, made his countrymen promise that they would not leave his bones behind in Egypt — the land where his word was law; it was not to be their home. The soldier will never again see his true love on “the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.”
Yet even when we are at home, we are not quite at home. When I was a boy, I was often lonely as I gazed from a hilltop over my town spread out far below and across the valley, and felt that it was not my home. Yet I miss that hilltop, though I know if I were to stand upon it today, I would miss even more; for the town has changed, and many a homely thing I took for granted and in a strange way even cherished is no lo…
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