This week, one of my favorite books of all time was released as a movie. "The Hobbit." At the time of writing this, I haven't seen it but hope to on Friday night. It's always dangerous to see a famous book as a movie. The director's envisioning might be vastly different from your own. With "The Hobbit," I don't think too much damage will be done. Hopefully it will spur people to read the book itself. I encourage you to consider buying it for yourself or your teenager.
What is so good about this little book of a fantasy world? It speaks nothing obvious or explicit about Christ or his Church. But it is a powerful story of God's action on the human soul. You and I are Hobbits. We try to live our lives in comfort. Well fed, well rested, and enjoying a mug of ale. In the book (and hopefully the movie) we read of Bilbo, a hobbit like any other. He likes his warm home, his good food and his comfortable life.
Then something happens that drags him out of comfort and to be stretched for greater glory. His unexpected party and unlooked for adventure. What makes the Hobbit attractive is Bilbo's growth into greater glory. What happens to Bilbo is by grace or what we might call providence. At the end, Gandalf says to Bilbo: "You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes where managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you, but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all."
You and I are Hobbits. In the words of Pope Benedict, "You were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness." At Christmas, we remember the unexpected party and unlooked for adventure of our own lives. Jesus Christ comes from outside ourselves and calls us out of our comfort to a great adventure with Him. We will be stretched for greater glory and our lives will never be the same again.
I hope "The Hobbit" movie lives up to the book. But I hope you read the book and then gain a better understanding of how our Lord calls and moves your soul to greatness.
Here is a good guide for watching/reading the Hobbit:
5 Ways to Watch the Hobbit as a Catholic by Kevin Cotter