Yes, it is true, there is actually a Hobbit Devotional. I don’t mean one used by hobbits, but rather one which is closely entwined with the classic JRR Tolkien story, the Hobbit. I have known Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of the Hobbit, longer than I have known my wife, but I have never seen his story in the light shown it by author Ed Strauss.
September 21st will mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of “the Hobbit, or There and Back Again.” And September 22nd is celebrated as “Hobbit Day” marking the shared birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, key characters from the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings respectively. Along with the pending release of the movie version of the Hobbit, the release of “A Hobbit Devotional” is certainly timely.
In this wonderfully written devotional, Ed Strauss, takes you on the journey of the Hobbit with sequential excerpts from the books intertwined with Biblical examples from both the Old and New Testaments to reveal spiritual truths and insight for Christian living. In the perilous journey of Bilbo, we explore fear, disappointment, and despair and experience how courage, and hope matter in the challenges life brings.
It is not just for Hobbit fans. Even if you never read the book you won’t find yourself lost. This devotional fills in enough story details from the story so that nothing is lost. Each of the 60 devotionals in this book starts with a passage from the Hobbit followed by a concise overview the situation faced by Bilbo and the other characters. Texts from the Bible are interspersed with the overview and lead to daily life applications drawn from both the Hobbit storyline and the scriptures and spiritual truths associated to it.
Es Strauss knows his way around Tolkien and the Bible as he weaves together wonderful encounters that illuminate the realities of Christian living with easy and humorous prose. Never preachy, but ever challenging,his insights are a source of satisfaction and reflection. For those cynical about devotionals, just a few chapter titles might get you curious. Consider the following chapters; #2 A Welcome Rabble-Rouser, #13 The Sword and the Spirit, #25 Being a Decent Fellow, #37 Not What We Expected, #47 The Effect of Dragon Talk, or #56 A Time For Wild Bears, and ask yourself, “am I curious as to what they might be about?” I know I was.
Our family are fans of JRR Tolkien, so I tested an excerpt the other evening after dinner. I randomly picked a single devotional from the middle of the book and read it aloud. A simple task since each devotional is only 4-5 pages long. The response was excited and positive. Afterward, my daughter, a Junior, tried to steal the book from me to read. (she gets it after I finish this review)
This an excellent book for the Tolkien fan or anyone seeking insight into the Christian life. It could be a great gift option for family or friends who are skeptical about the value faith brings to real life. This combination of a 75 year old work of fiction and a several thousand year old work of inspiration, with the master word-craft of a contemporary author is a winner.[Purchase a Copy of A Hobbit Devotional]