About a month ago, I was surfing through some blogs, when a post caught my eye. The author described a tradition, to read Lord of the Rings during Christmas time. For some reason, this act put this person into the Christmas spirit, and they found this perplexing. Well, given some thought, I can’t think of a better holiday to link with LotR than Christmas except, perhaps, Easter.
The Lord of the Rings is a story of Hope. Middle Earth is a land covered in a growing darkness. It is a land quickly sinking into a state of apathy and despair. Yet there is hope. A small glimmer in the unlikely success of a small hobbit in destroying the Ring. As I’ve said before, hobbits are essentially our own counterpart within Middle Earth. They are simple, ordinary people. They aren’t heroes, kings, wizards or rangers, but common folk….little people. Who would ever believe ones such as this could ever save the world? That someone so mundane and unheroic as Frodo or Sam could rid the world of its greatest evil? It is a difficult thing to fathom. Yet we must also remember that eucatastrophe is a key element of Tolkien’s work. It is not only the sudden awakening of hope or a change in the tide, it is the entrance of grace the events of Middle Earth. Think of it. Gandalf says Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, so Frodo was also meant to have it. Think of the timing. The coming of the Eagles. The moment the Ring is destroyed, when all hope is lost. The saving of Frodo and Sam, after they’ve given themselves up to die. None of these things are coincidence. They are the moments when grace shines through, when the reader is briefly able to see the hand of Eru in Middle Earth.
What greater Eucatastrophe is there on our earth than that of Christmas and Easter? Christmas, when seen without the gloss that tradition and faith gives it, was a very ordinary event. A child was born in a stable. When one stops to think about it, it is an extreemly human and ordinary event. God works in mysterious ways, working through us, and in us. God is in the simple things. Even they may become great.