No Beauty We Could Desire, A Poem written by C.S. Lewis
Yes, you are always everywhere. But I,
Hunting in such immeasurable forests,
Could never bring the noble Hart to bay.
The scent was too perplexing for my hounds;
Nowhere sometimes, then again everywhere.
Other scents, too, seemed to them almost the same.
Therefore I turn my back on the unapproachable
Stars and horizons and all musical sounds,
Poetry itself, and the winding stair of thought.
Leaving the forests where you are pursued in vain
-Often a mere white gleam- I turn instead
To the appointed place where you pursue.
Not in Nature, not even in Man, but in one
Particular Man, with a date, so tall, weighing
So much, talking Aramaic, having learned a trade;
Not in all food, not in all bread and wineC.S. Lewis
(Not, I mean, as my littleness requires)
But this wine, this bread… no beauty we could desire.
How could we possibly reach God, the transcendent, the One so beyond us in every way?
Even if He is ‘everywhere’, how could we know it was Him? How could we know Him?
No train of thought could trap Him, no trick, no test…
Yet the extraordinary claim of Christmas is that, though we could not find nor reach Him, He came down to us.
As a baby, born in a dusty old stable, lain in a manger amongst cattle and sheep.
It’s not what we’d expect: “no beauty we could desire”.
Yet, it changes everything.
They will call Him Immanuel, which means “God with us”. (Matthew 1:23)