The Giver

“To give a thing and take again

Is counted meanness among men;

Still less to take what once was given

Can be the royal way of heaven!

But human hearts are crumbly stuff,

And never, never love enough;

And so God takes and, with a smile

Puts our best things away awhile.

Some therefore weep, some rave, some scorn;

Some wish they never had been born;

Some humble grow at last and still,

And then God gives them what they will.”

–George MacDonald, The Giver

(Poetical Works, Vol 2, pg 128)

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Fear Nothing

“I am reminded that this is the last Sunday of the year. They go very fast these years, as we get older. You young people, you do not know how short the years will get by and by;with so much that you want to do, that it seems almost hopeless ever to do it, while time goes on and on, as we ourselves go at an increasing ratio of speed. Never mind time; fear not old age. Fear nothing but to be beaten by your work … There is a grander life than this.”

George MacDonald end-of -year sermon.

Happy New Year!

(Merci a Barbara!)

The MacDonald’s New Years Eve Celebration

An invitation to the MacDonald’s New Years Eve celebration, written by George for Louisa:

Please come on Monday
The day after Sunday,
And mind that you start with
Something to part with;
A fire shall be ready
Glowing and steady
To receive it and burn it
And never return it.
Books that are silly,
Clothes outworn and chilly,
Hats, umbrellas or bonnets,
Dull letters, bad sonnets,
Whate’er to the furnace
By nature calls “Burn us!”
An ancient, bad temper
Will be noted no damper –
The fire will not scorn it
But glory to burn it!
Here every bad picture
Finds refuge from stricture;
Or any old grudge
That refuses to budge,
We’ll make it the tomb
For all sorts of gloom,
The out-of-door path
For every man’s wrath.
All lying and hinting,
All jealous squinting,
All unkind talking
And each other balking,
Let the fire’s holy actions
Turn to ghostly abstractions.
All antimacassars,
All moth-egg amassers,
Old gloves and old feathers,
Old shoes and old leathers,
Greasy or tar-ry,
Bring all you can carry!
We would not deceive you:
The fire shall relieve you,
The world will feel better,
And so be your debtor.
Be welcome then – very –
And come and be merry!

George and Louisa MacDonald,
Bonfire at 7 P.M.
Dancing at 8

Casa Coraggio
Dec. 31st, 1885

December 31

Go, my beloved children, live your life.

Wounded, faint, bleeding, never yield the strife.

Stunned, fallen-awake, arise, and fight again.

Before you victory stands, with shining train

Of hopes not credible until they ARE.

Beyond morass and mountains swells the star

Of perfect love – the home of longing heart and brain

George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

To Love Perfectly

“Thou dost demand our love, holy Lord Christ,

And batest nothing of thy modesty;—

Thou know’st no other way to bliss the highest

Than loving thee, the loving, perfectly.

Thou lovest perfectly—that is thy bliss:

We must love like thee, or our being miss—

So, to love perfectly, love perfect Love, love thee.”

“Here is my heart, O Christ; thou know’st I love thee.

But wretched is the thing I call my love.

O Love divine, rise up in me and move me—

I follow surely when thou first dost move.

To love the perfect love, is primal, mere

Necessity; and he who holds life dear,

Must love thee every hope and heart above.”

George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

Step softly, under snow or rain,

To find the place where men can pray;

The way is all so very plain

That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore

On tortured puzzles from our youth,

We know all labyrinthine lore,

We are the three wise men of yore,

And we know all things but the truth.

We have gone round and round the hill

And lost the wood among the trees,

And learnt long names for every ill,

And served the mad gods, naming still

The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil

Of vision and philosophy,

The Serpent that brought all men bale,

He bites his own accursed tail,

And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly … it has hailed and snowed …

With voices low and lanterns lit;

So very simple is the road,

That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,

And blinding white the breaking day;

We walk bewildered in the light,

For something is too large for sight,

And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun

(… We need but walk a little way,

We need but see a latch undone …)

The Child that played with moon and sun

Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,

The old strange house that is our own,

Where trick of words are never said,

And Mercy is as plain as bread,

And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly, humble are the skies,

And low and large and fierce the Star;

So very near the Manger lies

That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes

To roar to the resounding plain.

And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,

For God Himself is born again,

And we are little children walking

Through the snow and rain.

—GK Chesterton

The World’s Tragedy

I come, I come, o sons of men, my triumph roars at last,

Yet with the weight of this my staff I scarce can tread so fast.

‘Twas worth the patient wandering years, the fight with want and sin,

To see, with pomp and crowded streets, my kingdom ushered in.

My mantle trails along the stones, man’s best imperial crown

Sits hard about my brows – so hard, methinks, the blood runs down.

I come, I come, o sons of men, Jerusalem I come,

My mighty men the halt and lame, my counsellors the dumb.

Raised on the highest steeps of time, with power to bless and ban,

I come, I come, o sons of men, the crownèd son of man.

O brothers, sisters, little ones, whose homes were poor as mine,

My heart went to you through the mists of all the dreams divine.

I dropped the crust, I siezed the staff, I trod the homeless wold,

No king of all my foes could fling the hateful taunt of gold.

I sought the meanest lives that felt the Father’s rain and sun,

I bent above the harlot’s shame, and she and I were one,

Lower and lower down I bent, and still my heart was full.

O brothers, sisters, broken ones the world’s hard judges slay,

O captives at the gibbet’s foot, I join you too today.

O brothers, sisters, toiling ones hereafter that shall rise,

To break the glebe in other lands, to sweat ‘neath other skies,

That age’s dust and sage’s doubt may turn your hearts from me,

That you in glare of newer times, again may join the cry

With rulers and with men of wealth, the shout of “Crucify!”,

That yet again the noise may come, the lazy sophist’s scorn,

That ye too may deride me dead, whom I have loved unborn.

~GK Chesterton (ca. 1893)

#gkc #poem #christmas