Christmas in March

The climatic destruction of the ring that held the world in its enslaving grip is one of my favorite passages of the Lord of the Rings. JRR Tolkien sets it up beautifully: while the evil forger of the ring, Sauron, literally had his eye on the powerful and mighty of the world, he failed to detect the lowly hobbit making his way to the back entrance to Mordor, to the fires of Mount Doom. He certainly did not suspect that such a humble creature could bring about the downfall of his kingdom. It’s a great story that retells an even greater story. There is something especially striking that Tolkien chose March 25 as the day the ring was destroyed and the power of darkness was conquered.

For the early Christians, March 25 was understood to be the day of the crucifixion. The humility of God on a Cross brought about Satan’s ultimate defeat, catching him unaware. Christ destroyed the power of death represented by the ring, by taking it upon himself. It could not be more fitting than for the event of Redemption, the deliverance of the universe, to take place during the spring equinox, when winter’s days are numbered. March 25 marks the coming of light. That’s why it was also understood to be the day that marked the conception of Jesus Christ.

Today is the day that led up to Christmas. It’s Christmas in March. God became man in the womb of a humble woman, respecting her free will and cooperation, for a purpose unlike that of the pleasure seeking gods of the ancient Greeks or other civilizations. God became man in order to make man become like God. That is what is behind today’s Solemnity of the Annunciation.

Blogger for the National Catholic Register, Simcha Fisher highlights the connection between the Lord of the Rngs and March 25, emphasizing the heroic yes of the Blessed Virgin Mary that made Redemption possible:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/simcha-fisher/mary-as-hero

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