I am unsure how much the Christmas season lends itself to confession, but I have a confession to make - I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and everything that goes with it. I can’t help myself!
I have watched the Lord of the Rings movies more times than I would like to admit (same with the Hobbit), including the extended versions (well worth your time, by the way). I have, of course, also watched the cartoon version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They were a lot scarier when I was a little girl than when I watched them 20 years ago with my then future husband, but Gollum still creeped me out!
We now own a very nice slipcase-covered copy of the Hobbit, as well as the graphic novel, the trilogy, an atlas of Middle-earth and the Silmarillion - although, I must admit I have had a very difficult time of warming up to the Silmarillion. I will of course try again some day, just because.
And yet, after all this exposure to Middle-earth I can’t answer whether or not hobbits celebrate Christmas. I’m thinking the answer is no. While fellow lovers of Tolkien’s world all know how much hobbits like a good party, Tolkien was very good about avoiding religious holidays. Come to think of it, he was very good at avoiding religion in general or otherwise. Interesting…
|"Bag End" from © cdca beckoetter on Fotolia|
Well, I guess that’s one of the many ways Tolkien and I differ – I think hobbits would love Christmas! At least, I know they would love the feasting and gift-giving parts. I also think it would be perfectly fun to gather with Bilbo and Frodo’s family and friends at Bag End. The food would be tasty and the conversation merry (and Merry might even be there, too). Of course, there would be singing and story telling after we eat, and I imagine a hobbit or two would find a nap in another room, just like we humans often do.
If Christmas was celebrated in Middle-earth, do you think there would be hobbit versions of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus? Or elf versions (and I don’t mean Santa’s elves either)? Or dwarf versions? Dwarves kind of look like miniature versions of Santa Claus, maybe they would take to that legend easier than their need of a Savior; they are pretty independent and stubborn, but so are people for that matter.
I think the nativity would still be of Joseph, Mary and Jesus as humans, but perhaps there would be elves and dwarves among the wise men, hobbits among the shepherds and maybe even a hobbit singing while accompanied by the little drummer boy. Initially it may be difficult to differentiate between the boy and the hobbit, of course, but ultimately the furry feet would serve as the tell-tale sign of which is which.
No matter how real Middle-earth can seem to readers, we all know it’s still a fiction. However, Jesus is not and perhaps that’s part of the reason why Tolkien didn’t include His existence in his stories; it would just be too confusing.
I am no Tolkien, and I will never claim to be. Thankfully God didn’t make me to be either. It is my hope that I, too, can produce fantasy stories that capture a reader’s imagination, but I further hope that while the reader knows it's fiction, she will find the courage to believe God isn’t. That somehow she will know God is real and His love for her is also real.