Kelly Belmonte has been writing poetry for over 30 years and blogging for ten (mostly at allninemuses.wordpress.com). Important poetic influences have included Kobayashi Issa, R.M. Rilke, Marge Piercy, Malcolm Guite, Frank Gaspar, and many other fine poets. Her work has been published in Atlas Poetica, Relief Journal, The Literary Nest, Open: Journal of Arts & Literature, and Ruminate, and included in The Word in the Wilderness (Canterbury Press, 2014) and Love, Remember (Canterbury Press, 2017). She also contributed a chapter on the poetry of C.S. Lewis to Women and C.S. Lewis (2015), a collection of interviews and essays on the theme of Lewis and women in his life and writings. Kelly’s two poetry chapbooks, Three Ways of Searching (2013) and Spare Buttons (2014), are published by Finishing Line Press.
H.G Wells was born on September 21, 1866. He was a brilliant thinker, but his humanistic worldview sparked a grand debate with none other than G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton wrote The Everlasting Man in 1925 as a literary rebuttal of Wells’ Outline of History in which Wells characterized human life as a seamless extension of animal life. In his book Defiant Joy, author Kevin Belmonte notes Chesterton’s desire to position his book as a counter-point dialog with Wells. One of the most famous passages explores the distinct differences between mankind and animals.
Dear G. K. C. As I am a supersaturated Dickensite, I pounced on your book and read it, as Wegg read Gibbon and other authors, right slap through.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1906)
Chesterton may be said to have written two great literary studies. Robert Browning, published by Macmillan in 1903, was the first. The second, published by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1906, was Charles Dickens: A Critical Study. These books represent the twin pillars of Chesterton’s literary criticism. He was never in better form.
Kevin Belmonte, Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G. K. Chesterton, from Chapter 11
It’s Monday morning and it’s cold. The car needs warming up, the windshield scraping. I stop at D&Ds for a cup of decaf, spill half of it on my coat. My cold clumsy hands unlock the office door, turn on the lights, my computer… another day.
Is this what it was like for the shepherds? Another cold night on the same old hillside with chapped hands and the bleating of sheep? Baaa… humbug.
Then the veil is pulled back. It starts with one angel. Then the glory of the Lord. And then terror – and good news – just a breath apart! And then that whole blessed heavenly host, glorifying and praising God.
So the shepherds decided to check it out for themselves. Of course. Would you go back to the office after being confronted by an army of angels? The sheep can wait. That is a no-brainer.
They ran down the hill into the town, found the baby in the manger exactly as the angel said they would, then came back glorifying and praising God. He came! Emmanuel – God with us! Nothing will ever be the same!
I wonder what that next night was like, or the next 50 nights, or the night five years from then. Another cold night on the same old hillside? Same bleating sheep, same chapped hands? Or did that glimpse behind the veil change their lives forever?
We see through a glass dimly; then we shall see face to face. The behind-the-veil evidence of Emmanuel is too much for us to bear – so he gives us glimpses, a “dim glass” view. That’s all we can really handle: the occasional realization that we were just spared to live another day; the miraculous healing of a loved one; the saving words of a contrite heart. If we only really knew about Emmanuel; if we could only see how God is with us every moment, how He gives us each breath, marks our every step, knows our every thought. Could we bear it?
Would it make a difference next Monday morning when I scrape my windshield and spill coffee on myself yet again? Maybe just knowing that I can’t possibly know all that is behind the veil, I will simply give thanks that He provided me with safe transportation, that I have spare change to spend on coffee, that I have a job.
There is so much we cannot know about Emmanuel, God with us. But we do know that God is Love. He has given us more than just a glimpse of Love. He made an unmistakable statement as He splashed it across the night sky, then took on human flesh and laid Himself down in a manger. He became Love for us. In the face of all that is tragic and mundane and distracting, we can know for sure that we have Love with us. And that can’t help but change us. Forever.
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Meet The Author
Kelly Belmonte, founder and Chief Muse of All Nine, is a poet, blogger, and management consultant with expertise in nonprofit organizational development and youth mentoring. Kelly expounds whenever and wherever she gets the chance on poetry, writing, and the creative process. Her work has been published in Relief Journal: A Christian Literary Expression and Atlas Poetica. She is honored to have her poem “How I Talk To God” selected for inclusion in The Word in the Wilderness (2014) edited by bestselling poet Malcolm Guite. Kelly also contributed a chapter to Women and C.S. Lewis (2015), a collection of interviews and essays on the theme of Lewis and women in his life and writings.