Resisting “Staggerment” This Christmas

I’m losing sleep at night. The last time the trailer for “The Hobbit” flashed across my television screen, I tried counting sheep, drinking warm milk, and taking a hot bath, and I still couldn’t fall asleep. December 14 can’t come soon enough. Taste for yourself:

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There’s a part of Tolkien’s book that holds a timely warning for us this Christmas season. Bilbo Baggins sneaks into the lair of the dragon, Smaug. He sees the gold and jewels layering the floor of Smaug’s cave, and he’s transfixed.

Here’s what Tolkien writes:

“The glow of Smaug! There he lay, a vast red-golden dragon, fast asleep; a thrumming came from his jaws and nostrils, and wisps of smoke, but his fires were low in slumber. Beneath him, under all his limbs and his huge coiled tail, and about him on all sides stretching away across the unseen floors, lay countless piles of precious things, gold wrought and unwrought, gems and jewels, and silver red-stained in the ruddy light.

Smaug lay, with wings folded like an immeasurable bat, turned partly on one side, so that the hobbit could see his underparts and his long pale belly crusted with gems and fragments of gold from his long lying on his costly bed. Behind him where the walls were nearest could dimly be seen coats of mail, helms and axes, swords and spears hanging; and there in rows stood great jars and vessels filled with a wealth that could not be guessed.

To say that Bilbo’s breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment…”

“Staggerment”…what a great word to describe Bilbo’s lust. And what a helpful reminder: may we keep Christmas about good food, warm times with family, and remembering the love & incarnation of God. May we not make it about wanting the things we do not have. Bilbo was so taken by his want, he forgot about the beast hiding in the corner. The same can happen to us, if we’re not careful.

 

Christmas Present Idea for the man in your life: “Man on the Run: Helping Hyper-Hobbied Men Recognize The Best Things In Life” by Zeke Pipher


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