My friend just sent me this and I loved it:
Every year we watch the extended editions of the trilogy. It is a Christmas tradition we began before the days of the Julian and it has been very much a part of his young life. Last year we gifted him an encyclopedia on LOTR. While he has not yet read Silmarillion (who knew about that first "l"? ) he has read online extensively and shares his wealth of knowledge throughout the entirety of the 10-hr viewing experience. While it can be... a bit much at times (zip it and let me focus/cry in peace!) I love how much he knows and will rely on him to explain backgrounds and histories and ages and connections for years to come.
We reminisce about when the movies came out, how they were released at the same time as the Harry Potter movies and how I was an idiot and thought Harry Potter would be more epic. Could not be more wrong. These movies are so near and dear to my heart. They changed me forever. The messages and themes and hero stories and religious parallels are constantly running through my mind, woven into my being. Phrases and quotes are constantly being pulled and connected to moments and experiences and conversations with people, with other things I'm reading, with any contemplation about life and the human experience whatsoever. Guaranteed I can connect any discussion at church regarding spiritual matters to a moment or character in the LOTR story. It is gospel to me and canon. Undeniably. I plan to write the most epic essay about it and when I do it will be perfect and exact.
The films were released at Christmas, if you old people will recall. Every two years. Two years! I was in college and I remember seeing one of them with my family as part of a double feature and we just about died. But when I saw them, something stirred in my soul and awakened. I cherish the stories, the characters, their flaws and arcs, the friendships, fellowships, the ways they're different and similar. The wisdom given and the heartbreak. My very spirit groaneth at the resonance they induce, the feeling of being seen and known, which is possibly the best feeling there can ever be.
So yes. Elves and gifts and kookie bearded people, adorable inns, secrets and surprises and songs, magic and sanctity. "Ranger from the North." Feelings of insignificance, fear of the future, fear of the self, alone in the wilderness, nakedness in darkness, battles with demons, death and rebirth, restoration, reconciliation, redemption. Gold rings and sacrifice, fighting for world peace against all odds, giving hope while struggling to keep it ourselves. Yes. Lord of the Rings is indeed the best Christmas movie of all time.