“I stepped backwards, trembling. No, not a bandit – but what? Something even more terrifying. His face was the kindest face I ever saw, but the fiercest too, and all lit by this light that came from nowhere. I felt like I’d walked into another world.

But the dry ground crunched beneath my feet, and my fingers felt the rough fabric of my shawl, and I knew I hadn’t gone anywhere. I was here, in Nazareth, and there was an angel in front of me, and he had called me highly favoured.” 

Looking for a vivid, funny and true-to-life retelling of the most famous birth of all time? 

The Promise and the Light gives us a fresh perspective on the lead up to the birth of baby Jesus, told from the key characters’ points of view. This is supposed to be a book for young readers, but I think anyone can read it and enjoy immersing themselves in the atmosphere and culture of the 1st century Holy Land.

As one reviewer puts it, “how critical, in a world of fairy tales, with many good ones on our shelves, that we drive home for our kids that this story is not make-believe” (David Matthis). 

I’m so excited to be able to share this book with family and friends, to show them that yes, the stories in the Bible are engaging, amazing, and moreover, completely true! Author Katy Morgan is careful to include a comprehensive notes section at the end of the book to clarify the historical facts around the story, and share the sources she used to enrich her narrative.

With 25 short, readable chapters, this book is the perfect read-aloud for the family this Christmas, an alternative to the endless selection of Christmas movies! Or it would make the perfect Christmas gift for a young person: to capture their imaginations and stir their hearts to the beautiful story of the nativity and the deeper message of Jesus. 

I myself will be reading a chapter a night to my children throughout advent as an exciting build up to Christmas Day, but it could also be read two chapters at a time over the 12 Days of Christmas to round off the Christmas season with a reminder of the real reason for our celebrations.

Why not pick up a copy to give to someone this Christmas and rekindle their excitement about the Nativity story?

Book review by Fi, Tilehurst