Over the years, traditions and holidays evolve. Even religious ones that are organized by people dead set against evolution and everything it stands for – they evolve too. When people are asked what “the true meaning of Christmas” is these days, respondents often focus too hard on trying to remember the details, like whether Scrooge owned the inn that turned Mary away, or the one that let her stay in the stable. Many worry themselves trying to remember which gift each wise man brought, and forget the real message, which is that giving expensive presents to a newborn is guaranteed to spoil him.
Some people lose sight of the bigger picture while watching straight-to-DVD movies, and forget all about treatises.
However, there is an altogether different message associated with December 25th, which predates the Christmas story, and even the film A Christmas Story. Arguably the event is all the more important as it actually happened on December 25th, unlike subsequent events which are wrongly and inexplicably commemorated on that day.
To Frodologists, December 25th is Fellowship Day. It commemorates that day when Frodo and his eight companions set off from Rivendell to destroy the Ring and deliver Middle Earth from evil. There are, I think, four lessons which can be drawn from the bold step taken on December 25th.
First, the mission to Mordor is symbolic of casting off the yoke of our material possessions. The ring which Frodo takes is a piece of jewelry highly evocative of Western materialism, and he swears on all that’s holy (himself) that he will cast it into the fires of the predictably named Mount Doom. As Robert Frost belatedly observed several millennia later, “nothing gold can stay”. Unless it wasn’t infused with preternatural evil at the time it was cast from hellfire and the ethereal souls of unbaptized children. Then it can stay.
The second message that Frodologists take from Fellowship Day is that on any arduous quest or journey, at the halfway point a tall elvish woman will give you queer gifts you likely have no use for. This is a device which literature calls deus ex machina, and it demonstrates the extreme and incredible good fortune which one should always expect and count on.
Third, Fellowship Day teaches us important lessons about cooperation in the face of faceless evil. Namely, it teaches us to judge others based on rumors and hearsay, and to accuse entire cultures of being paragons of evil, particularly if they lay far to the east. It teaches us to ignore the root causes of strife, and to expend countless lives sorting out a disagreement when a little dialogue may have been just as effective.
Finally, Fellowship Day teaches us about friendship. In particular we learn the lesson that, despite brave assurances of support from friends and strangers alike, no one will actually offer to do the hardest part for us, no matter how much more suited they are for the task. Ultimately, putting a miniature flag on your dashboard or uploading a series of JPEGs to the sidebar of your blog is much easier.
With so much to teach the rest of the world, however, we Frodologists must remember never to detract from other messages symbolized by the 25th of December. In particular, if you are heavily pregnant and desperately implore people for a room all the while maintaining your chastity and virginity, no one is going to let you in.