Everyone on Facebook, it seems, celebrates New Year’s Day with a ritual of some favorite movie. Some are classics. Some favorite family fare. Some downright, um, odd. But it doesn’t matter. It’s something their family does together. As togetherness activities go, it’s better than therapy or that circus knife-throwing class you were considering.
So I proposed to my family that New Year’s Day should be our annual revisiting of the Lord of the Rings movies. Yes, all three. Just the right thing for sitting down and finally digesting all that hot chocolate and those cookies.
This, I find now, is all the more appropriate as, had I been blogging on January 3rd, we would have all been celebrating J.R.R.Tolkein Day. Yes, I am among those who consider him one of the greatest writers of the last century. Coming completely geeky-clean here–we own the complete platinum, expanded version DVD set. The boxed ones. We own Lord of The Rings Trivial Pursuit. (And I can kick your butt at it.) We sewed precisely-accurate costumes for Halloween one year of the two female leads. We own an exact (miniature) replica of Eowyn’s battle helmet.
This last item was a Christmas present to my oldest two daughters one year. They found it slightly odd. OK, so most junior high girls do not put ” Eowyn’s battle helmet” on their Christmas lists. But they should.
I discovered some of my favorite movie lines ever in each of the movies. The last one inspired this gift, as Eowyn stands before the most evil baddie in the battle, wounded, listening to him tell her that, “No man can kill me.” Whipping off that helmet to reveal long, blonde hair she replies, “I am no man.”
I would love for my daughters to be Eowyns. The oldest already has a lot of her qualities. Middle child prefers Arwyn. She reasons that Arwyn has a prettier crown and dresses. Besides, as she puts it, “She’s an elf. How cool is that?!” Point taken. And Arwyn is cool, not because of the dress, but because of her faith, loyalty, and kick-butt attitude. But I love Eowyn’s unwillingness to settle. Her restlessness with the status quo. Her incredible courage to face odds so greatly piled against her, as well as the disapproval of others, to be true to her calling. Even when not entirely sure what that calling was.
Isn’t that what we all want? To know what we were put here to do and have the courage to do it? One without the other can be supremely frustrating. But both together? Unquenchable magic.
That’s what I want for me, and for my daughters. Magic. Courage. A sense that it doesn’t really matter how crazy-scary the world is around us if we know we are where we are supposed to be doing what we are supposed to do. We are no men. Strap on the helmets, and let’s hit the battle. Wherever and whatever it is for each of us. That’s enough to make me celebrate J.R.R. Tolkein Day, even late.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you or someone you know leads a youth group and would like a free download of the first lesson in my youth group study series, Can A Guy Named Frodo Really Change My Life?, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a great group study/game time, especially for kids who may not be churchgoers but who do like the movies.
To celebrate J. R. R. Tolkein Day:
–Wear pointy ears. Grocery shopping.
–Cook “tomatoes, sausage, and nice crispy bacon” over an open fire for dinner. In January. Only for hard-core enthusiasts.
–Be nice to short people. You never know if they might save the world.
–Curl your hair, put ribbons in it, and dance. Everywhere.
–Tell stories with your family.
–Start reading The Hobbit out loud to your kids.
–Learn archery. It’s really quite fun.
–Go around speaking in a Scottish/Irish accent for no reason. Or learn to speak elf, but I hear that’s got a pretty steep learning curve.
–Go on a perilous adventure. Like to the laundromat. Or Chuckie Cheese.
–Come to my house to play Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit. I’ll still kick your butt.