From David Mathis of desiringgod.org:
At the end of his important essay “On Fairy Stories,” Tolkien explains from where he intends his tales to draw their power — from the emotional reservoir of the Christian gospel. The “primary world” story of the Son of God himself, taking full humanity at Christmas, living flawlessly in our fallen world, sacrificing himself to rescue us on Good Friday from God’s just wrath, and rising again victorious on Easter as the living Lord of the Universe — here is the Story for which God made the human heart and the Story from which all good stories derive their power.
For Tolkien, the enchantment of the Christian gospel is deeper than allegory (which he thought crass) or merely having a character who is the Jesus figure. Tolkien believed that God made humanity for the Great Joy purchased by and provided in the Good News of Jesus, and that the joy we experience from good fantasy tales streams its power from the real world, the Primary Reality, created by God and culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of his Son. In this way, Tolkien thought that all good stories meet with God’s gospel-shaped imprint on his creatures.
Finding Jesus in The Hobbit doesn’t mean shoe-horning Gandalf or Bilbo or anyone else into some Christ mold, but following the story, truly tracking its twists, feeling its angst, and knowing that the “turn” — the Great Unexpected Rescue just in the nick of time, the place where our souls are most stirred and relieved and satisfied — is tapping into something deep in us, some way in which God spring-loaded us for the Great Story and the extent to which he went to reclaim us.
From Jim Ware of Finding God in The Hobbit:
With a simple hobbit in a simple hobbit-hole, J.R.R. Tolkien opened the window on a whole new world that has captured millions of imaginations and changed the face of literature forever. But this story of unexpected adventure is far more than goblin attacks, dragon-hoards, and riddles in the dark. It’s a journey that changes a simple hobbit named Bilbo – and us along the way.
Just as the very ordinary Bilbo Baggins was caught up in a web of momentous events beyond his understanding, so you also are part of a larger story. Travel to Middle-earth to discover some ways in which God is still very much at work in our world—and has a bigger purpose for you than you can ever imagine.
More on The Hobbit coming soon!