(Post by: Madie Hobbs) Blogmas Day Twenty-Four

Most of you know I love a good fairy-story, and the fairy-stories I love most of all come from the pen of J. R. R. Tolkien, whom I could not have gone through all of Blogmas without mentioning. The story of Bilbo Baggins and his great adventures in The Hobbit is a tale I often find my mind wandering toward, and today is no different.   

I sit in my warm house now, surrounded by a dark world outside, where the fog is clinging closely to the window next to me, as I wait on the beginning of quite the winter storm. Many individuals think of winter as the season of cold, grey landscapes, devoid of cheer and intensity. On the contrary, however, I believe winter is the most vivid, captivating, and bright season of all. To me, December feels like the cool after a prolonged, excruciating heat, and this year especially, I welcome this old friend with open arms.   

Bilbo Baggins is a character I often relate to, in that we both wish to be left alone with our books in front of a roaring fire, and in that we each have an intricate desire for adventure, but never know quite how to go about seeking the right one out. Luckily for Bilbo, the right adventure sought him out, and fell into his lap in the form of thirteen dwarves and one rather impetuous wizard, on a quest to take back a homeland currently resting in the clutches of the dragon, Smaug.  

Once Bilbo finally summons up enough courage to join his companions, he is thrust quickly into all variations of adventures, ranging from attempting to distract trolls, to riddles in the dark with the creature, Gollum, to fighting in a battle that decides the fate of the Lonely Mountain. When at last all of these adventures are over, and it is time for him to go back home, Bilbo can’t help but be relieved and anticipatory to his homecoming. The adventurer in him is weary, and the homebody side of him is beginning to re-surface.  

As he and Gandalf, the wizard who played a significant part in bringing Bilbo his quest, travel back to the Shire, where nothing unexpected ever happens, he reflects on the ways he has grown, the friends he lost along the way, and the unfathomable weight which has been lifted off his sore shoulders.  

Gandalf and Bilbo pause along their journey, early in the morning, at a vantage point which allows them to look back on the places where many of their perils had taken place. Just in front of them is the place where the company had been captured by goblins and had escaped only by the skin of their teeth. In the distance, rests Mirkwood, a dark and fearful spot set in the middle of their road. Finally, on the horizon, rises the Lonely Mountain. Its peaks covered in un-melting snow that gleams in the intense rays of sunlight.  

Here, Bilbo officially ends his adventure, and says a little something which I have loved since the very instant I read it.  

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!” he says.  

Many of us can probably say that we have encountered many daily dragons this year. Fewer of us can say we truly faced them.  

“Dragons” have been, and always will be, a part of our lives. They are like an unavoidable sickness, slithering across the landscapes of our world, setting it ablaze with the desolation they breathe. Yet still, there has been, and always will be, a Knight to slay them. Whose armor reflects the excruciating heat, and whose sword cuts through it like lightning. The tip of His black arrow is cold and sharp, sinking into the cracks between the dragon’s scales.  

That Knight was once a small child, wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. It is our Knight’s birth which we are celebrating this very moment, and whose praise we echo through the King’s courts. It is He who brought with the dragon’s ending, the white, purifying snow which blankets the earth and screams through the world, “Behold the Knight! Whose sacrifice brings forth purity and light, after a lifetime of burning, red fire.”  

Though dragons have always been a part of our world, we know that the endings of dragons have also echoed through the pages of history. Let us remember that our Knight is no longer a babe in a manger, but is grown, into the Heavenly Warrior He was always meant to become, and His sword is now drawn.  

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