Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Notes 1: Yuletide in Middle Earth

This is a guest post from a friend, Franklin "Glenn" de Guzman, a certified JRR Tolkien fanatic and his Lord of the Rings (LOTR) series and other novels. Glenn is a friend way back in UP in the 80s. He is an economist in academic and professional training, but deep inside, is a literary and poetic artist. I must admit that in many of his short novels and long poems, my comprehension of his work would be as low as 50 to 60 percent even if I re-read his works 2x or 3x. There is something about the use of very uncommon words and terms but are still found in dictionaries and possibly in wikipedia.

Glenn posted this in his facebook Notes yesterday, he tagged me. This piece is better appreciated by people who have read the LOTR, yes the 3 (thick) books series, which unfortunately disqualifies me as I have not read any of those books, but I saw the 3-parts movie.

Enjoy this folks. It's about Jesus, the evil, and the Middle Earth all rolled in a 3-in-1 masterpiece. I have a feeling though, that this is only the initial paper from Glenn. This guy is capable of producing long artistic works, so there may be a Part 2, even a Part 3, in the coming days or weeks...

Thanks Glenn, for agreeing to post this in my blog.


A Christmas Retelling

Glenn de Guzman

Ere the beginning of the Fourth Age of the Shire-reckoning, following the departure of the Ring-bearers to the West, in the day that could not be forgotten, an event occurred that was greeted with awe and wonder, even beyond the realms of Arda. It began with the fashioning of a new star by Varda, one of the mightiest of the Valar (angels). The star’s appearance coincided with an event unheard of since the awakening of the elves during the time when Orome, another Valar, first found the elves wandering under the starlight in the eastern part of the Middle Earth.

And this newly-formed star started to seek its course in the heavens until it overshadowed all the stars, as though it was a huge globe of the Arkenstone with a thousand faces, sparkling like silver in the firelight during a black-smudged night. Below of which, the last batch of the elves at Grey Havens, the harbor nestled at the mouth of the Gulf of Lhûn, was about to board the ship that would take them out of the Middle Earth forever.

Suddenly, a Valar appeared to the elves, and the glory of Iluvatar (God) shone around them, and they were terrified.

Aiya! Ilyanna, (Hail! To all,) Ar nai Eruanna nauva aselye! (May the grace of God be with you!)

Cirdan the Shipwright, keeper of the Grey Havens, who was leading the elves upon the quay, recognized the face of the angel. He replied:

Aiya Manwe Elenior Au calima! (Hail Manwe, brightest of angels!) Elen sila lủmenń omentielvo. (A star shines on the hour of our meeting.)

Manwe said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the creatures of Middle Earth. Hear now things that have not been heard among elves, men, and dwarfs, and the High Elves speak seldom of these things; yet did Iluvatar, Lord of lords and King of kings whispered these to the Valars before in the deeps of time. Today in the Shire, a Savior will be born. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The Valar -Aulë also summoned the dwarves of Erebor to the Shire. And at this moment, a host of men has issued forth from Minas Tirith led by the High King Eldarion, heir of Isildur and of Aragorn Ellesar, to pay homage to the child.”

The elves became exceedingly glad; for they realized that they would be accepted back in Valinor. They left the Light but now they are not shut out from it. The curse of the elves, at last, that started with the kinslaying during the sacking of the haven of Alqualondë by the followers of Fëanor, would be blotted out and remember no more.

And so it came to pass by that at the upper Vales of Anduin, a woman was riding a donkey being held out by a man, she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. Suddenly, there appeared another wonder above; and behold Ancalagon the Black, mightiest of the winged dragons, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the Void: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born.

But Tulkas, the most warlike of the Valar, came through the sky shining with white flame to do battle with the fire-drakes armada, and he was aided by Thorondor with his squadron of eagles and all birds of heaven. Ancalagon belched fire to incinerate the woman while a descendant of the dragon Smaug, who once laid waste to the region of Erebor, spewed out of his mouth a hideous reek after the woman, that he might cause her to be filled with a blind terror that only a few mortals could withstand.

But Gwaihir, who led the eagles in rescuing Frodo and Sam when Mt. Doom was erupting, gently lifted both the woman and the man with his claws and bore them up and away and set them down in Hobbiton. The wind blew and dispersed the breath which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

The dragon fought and prevailed not; until Tulkas at last slew Ancalagon and cast him from the sky, and he fell upon the towers of Cirith Ungol and they were broken in his ruin. The host of the Valar prevailed and well-nigh almost all of the dragons were destroyed and the survivors fled into the cold wastes to the north.

And so it was, that, while they were fighting, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the Prancing Pony inn.

And a loud voice was heard in heaven saying:

“Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the deceiver is cast down.”

A great company of the Ainur, the heavenly host, appeared with the angel, praising Iluvatar and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men, hobbits, dwarves, ents, and elves on whom His favor rests.”

A beatific silence followed for a few moments, floating with the glorious swarm of brilliant stars in the night sky. The whole canopy of heavens was awashed with argent light: cascading rays from the constellations, coruscating, and then fanning toward the dark crevices of the universe. As the starlight rippled in broad, bold strokes, they changed in magnitude, oftentimes intense in brightness in one nook of the sky, then hot like a dragon’s breath, then suddenly ice cool as the frost that fell at Utomno.

And an Ainur began to sing, his voice sounding like the fluid notes from harp chords, and then another Ainur sang with the sound of a flute solo, until a two-part harmony was produced. And then voices were heard, like host of choirs singing a great music, a tender passage played on soft muted strings. And this music, of majesty and splendor unheard before, filled Ea, the entirety of existence, up to the pathways leading to the Timeless Halls and the Void. The vast breadth of Mordor was shaken to its foundation

Yet ever as the ethereal music tumbled out of their mouths, they came to a deeper understanding that this was the essence of the mighty theme declared by Iluvatar before. The Flame Imperishable or the creating spirit of Iluvatar, that was with God before creation –the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, before all things came into being. For by him all things were created: things in heaven, in Arda, and on Middle Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or orcs or dragons, ringwraiths, trolls, or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

The elves recalled the lays of old what Iluvatar said at the beginning of the Music of Creation: “Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World!”

Eternal, infinite, glorious beyond words, unlimited. The creating spirit came in the flesh and made his dwelling in the Middle Earth. For unto all creatures, angels, men, dwarves, and elves, a Child is born, unto all of them a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

And so the Holy Child was born in Hobbiton in the Shire, during the time when darkness started to hold its sway again into the lands of the Middle Earth. When the Ainur had returned to heaven, the elves said to each other, “Let’s go to Hobbiton! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Ainur have told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found a couple. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the elves told everyone what had happened and what the Valar had said to them about this child. All who heard the elves’ story were astonished, but the mother kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The elves went back to the dock of Grey Havens, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

The Istari - wise persons from the West came to Bree and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Middle Earth? We saw a new star from the Undying Lands and have come to worship him.”

Even as the Istari spoke together of these things, the star they had seen in the west went ahead of them until it stopped over a hobbit hole where the child was. On entering the house, they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and gifts of the three rings of power that remained hidden until that time, were laid down before the child: a ring of gold with a great blue stone, Vilya, mightiest of the three; the Ring of Sapphire, Nanya, the ring wrought of mithril, that bore a single white stone flickering like a frosty star; and the Red Ring.

Gandalf, one of the Istari, knelt in front of the child and said: “Take this ring (Narya), Master, for your labors will be heavy, but it will support you in the weariness and the sins of the world that you will be taking upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill”. And having been warned in a dream not to go beyond the borders of the Shire, they returned to the West by another route.

And when they were departed, behold, a Valar appeared to the foster-father of the child in a dream, saying, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Riveldell, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for the new Dark Lord will seek the young child to destroy him”. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Riveldell, the hidden refuge at the foothill of the Misty Mountains.

When the Dark Lord sitting in his throne at Mordor who succeeded Sauron heard the movements of men and dwarfs west of Misty Mountains and saw the new star, he was disturbed and all of the Black Land with him. When he had called together all the orcs, ringwraiths, wargs, trolls, and other foul creatures, he demanded of them where the Holy Child was to be born. In the Shire, he was told by the Lord of the Nazgul, for that was the palantir, the all-seeing stone had shown.
And the Lord of the Nazgul, called the Witch King of Angmar in the elder days, also told him of the prophecy of Mandos of the Dagor Dagorath (the Last Battle and the Day of Doom) on the final doom of evil and the record of rulers in the Scroll of Kings on the rise of King of kings.

But you, Shire, in the land of Hobbiton, Are not the least among the lands and realms of Middle Earth; For out of you shall come a Ruler, who will shepherd My people.

The Dark Lord sent them to the Shire and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and destroy him.”
Then the Dark Lord, when he saw that he was mocked when the child could not be searched by the palantir, was exceeding in wrath, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Hobbiton, and in all the coasts thereof, from the Blue Mountains to the Gulf of Lune, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired.

When the Dark Lord died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to the man in Rivendell. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Minas Tirith, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”

So the man got up and returned to the land of Minas Tirith near Mordor with the child and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Mordor was the Dark Lord’s son, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of the Shire. So the family went and lived in a town called Little Delving. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called little or lowly among men.”

And the Dark Lord was enraged, and he went to make war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of child who would become the Messiah.

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