It is to God, therefore, that we must first look for certitude and joy. Not some political arrangement, however useful in shoring up a social order where, as Dorothy Day used to say, it becomes easier for men to be good. So, by all means, be grateful to the maintenance of that order, ambitiously begun by a convert emperor back in the fourth century and, yes, labor mightily for its restoration. But give God your allegiance and love.
Meanwhile, the romance about which Chesterton writes, never mind the institutions that crystallized round it, precisely began in a place as unprepossessing as anywhere on the planet. Just ask the three wise men whose peregrinations the poet Eliot describes in his Journey of the Magi: “A cold coming we had of it, / Just the worst time of the year / For a journey, and such a long journey. . . ” And when at last they reach the place – “arriving at evening,” we are told, “not a moment too soon” – amid the cattle and the sheep crowded about a tiny stable at the end of the world, a child is born. “It was (you might say) satisfactory.”
Forget the appearance of the place, the noise and the cold and the dirt surrounding the scene, the seeming unimportance of the characters in the tableau, and fix your mind on the event itself. Does it not provide the perfect conjunction, the absolutely ideal connection between those two things Chesterton insists must be present for a life of “practical romance” to take place?
For real romance to work, he tells us, there has got to be this precise and happy. . .
. . . combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. We need to be happy in this wonderland without once being merely comfortable.
And where else but in Bethlehem does that happen?
The Coming of Christmas
Statolatry is the idolization of the state and politics
Meanwhile, some of us are trying to wean ourselves off of the politics addiction and trying to remember Who it is exactly that Christian clerics are called to serve.
On the delusion of clergy access to the royal throne