Reviewed by Victoria Hutchinson
At the age of 50, I don’t often find myself delighting so openly in a book aimed at children. But The Promise and the Light compels so gently and inspires so honestly, that I awaited each of the brief 25 advent chapters with the eagerness of a young girl. And as I turned the pages, I met with the humility and authenticity of the teenage Mary, living her oh-so-ordinary life in Nazareth’s backstreets as she gets on with family life with siblings and parents.
Katy Morgan draws us into the lives of all the known heroes of the Christmas story in a way that sheds all the 20th century hype. The glory and grandeur, the tinsel and the presents are all forgotten as we sit under the big old oak tree with Mary and her sister, and gaze down from the scaffolding planks with Joseph working alongside his father.
There is an authenticity and simplicity which quietens the heart and causes the reader to stop and pause for breath. The story unfolds exactly as expected – and yet the freshness of its telling feels brand new – as if you are hearing events for the very first time.
Alarm bells are always ringing loudly when Scripture is used to write a story. The Bible speaks the truth and is God-breathed and written by his holy inspiration. As such, I approached this book with some apprehension. But Katy Morgan does not change the truth of scripture. Rather she uses her imagination to try to get inside the head and heart of Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah amongst others, and lands us in Nazareth right beside them. Nothing alters or detracts or changes the truth that we read in our Bibles.
What she does do, is remove the cliché, remove the westernised versions of Christmas, remove any remoteness that has grown in our own hearts – and gives us the humility of Jesus’ birth and of his parents. In simple language and style we nod with Joseph as he says:
Jesus … It means ‘God will save’. I thought of all the pain and trouble of the previous months. The angel seemed to know what I was thinking. “He will save his people from their sins”, he said. Yes that was what we needed. I felt tears leaking out of my eyes.
Amen. Tears leak from my eyes too. That was and is what we need.
ISBN: 978-1784986612, 128pp, 2021, The Good Book Company, ages 8-12
From the Blurb
Captivating retelling of the nativity story. Great Christmas gift for kids who love to read.
What if you were visited by an angel one night who told you that you were to give birth to the Son of God? How would you feel? What might you think?
Written as a series of vivid and dramatic first-person accounts, The Promise and The Light tells the stories of Mary, Joseph and Zechariah as they experience the events of the first Christmas. Written in a lively and engaging style, this imaginative yet biblically faithful book will captivate children aged 8-12.
Readers will be able to get inside the hearts and minds of some of the key players in the Christmas story and will appreciate the power and excitement of what happened and why it is so amazing for us today.
With 25 chapters, readers may choose to read a chapter a day during Advent.
About the Author
Katy Morgan is an Editor at The Good Book Company. She is a member of Chessington Evangelical Church in Surrey, UK, where she lives.
She holds a master’s degree in classical Greek literature, and previously worked in a ministry role as part of a school chaplaincy.
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