It is no accident that the Fellowship’s journey from Rivendell begins on Christmas Day, the dawn of December 25th. Neither is it incidental that when Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee at long last struggle up the slopes of Mount Doom to destroy Sauron by way of the One Ring, it is March 25th, the traditional ecclesiastical date of Good Friday.
Tolkien’s story is framed by the liturgical calendar, and so the Shire’s scouring is not superfluous. After all, in the “true myth,” Easter victory did not instantly transform the world. The enthronement of the King of kings and Lord of lords had to be announced by his messengers to those kings and lords in distant places, “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”…
Tolkien got it right. Christmas and Easter together do not spell “the end.” There is much work to do. Our own homes, relationships, vocations, thoughts, desires, inclinations, hearts must be scoured and healed by the good news of a new King. Gandalf says, “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so shall the rightful king be known.