Why March 25th Might Be The Most Important Date of all History
We could easily refer to March 25th as the most important date of all history, both in our own world and in the history of Middle-Earth. And that, if you might've guessed, is no coincidence. Tolkien created Middle-Earth with painstaking detail and wove importance and hidden meaning into nearly every page of The Lord of the Rings - and the dates of important events are no exception. March 25th marks the date when the One Ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom - so what is the significance?
Turns out this date is incredibly important in Christian history, and Tolkien would've known this.
In The Spirit of Liturgy, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) explained, “Jewish tradition gave the date of March 25 to Abraham’s sacrifice... This day was also regarded as the day of creation, the day when God’s word decreed: ‘Let there be light.’ It was also considered, very early on, as the day of Christ’s death and eventually as the day of his conception.." This date is also the officially celebrated Feast of the Annunciation, the celebration of the Incarnation, Mary's fiat.
Considering its importance in Jewish and Christian tradition, it feels natural that Tolkien chose for March 25th to bear such significance to the history of Middle-Earth. Three major events took place on March 25th: first and foremost, it is the date on which the One Ring is inadvertently destroyed by Gollum; secondly, on the same date the following year, Frodo returns home to the Shire; and the following year, Elanor the Fair is born.
And so it is on this date that we encounter, in so many beautiful ways, Christ's humbled and sacrificial love. Mirroring Christian history, Tolkien presents to his readers an incredible juxtaposition of life and death. Mary's acceptance of Christ's Incarnation - her fiat - was a death to her own plans or desires for her life; Christ's humiliation, torture, and crucifixion was the ultimate act of love brought about through death.
Through Frodo's death to himself, he conquers the evil of Sauron and brings about an age of peace for Middle-Earth.
Through Christ's death to himself, he conquers death and brings about eternal life.
So this date is quite an important day for us all - and now that you know, I hope you'll find a little way to celebrate. :)
More thoughts on this: The Tolkien Road Podcast, Episode 57: Concerning March 25th