G. K. Chesterton was born on this day in 1874. He stands out as one of the most jovial and brilliant apologists for the Christian faith of the early twentieth century. In these times when religiosity either burns with extremist severity or barely simmers at all, Chesterton's Orthodoxy registers as something very special. In it, he defends wonder, good conduct, free will, and a belief in God whose greatest secret is mirth. His writing is aglimmer with astonishment over the adventure of life.

To remember Chesterton is also to recall the vivid flights of imagination in his Father Brown detective stories, the sweep of his literary knowledge in biographies of Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson, and the variety of his manifold political and cultural writings.


To fine tune your spiritual faculty of wonder, try on one or more of these gems by Chesterton:

  • "The world will never starve for wonder; only for want of wonder."
  • "Adventure is the champagne of life."
  • "Happiness is a mystery like religion, and should never be rationalized."
  • "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly."
  • "True contentment is a real, even a active virtue — not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it."
  • "We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor."
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."
  • "A good joke is the one alternative and sacred thing which cannot be criticized. Our relations with a good joke are direct and even divine relations."
  • "At the back of our brains, so to speak, there was a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spirited life was to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder."


G.K. Chesterton: Essential Writings edited by William Griffin