How do you feel about Advent?
Are you filled with excitement at the anticipation of celebrating Christmas? Do you enjoy the busyness of the build up? Or do you feel a sense of dread at the enormity of your to-do list and how little time you have available? Or perhaps a resentment at the rampant commercialism of what ought to be a sacred season?
No matter where you find yourself on the spectrum of emotions, one of the biggest challenges can be finding time to focus on Jesus, without whom Advent and Christmas would not exist.
With this in mind, may I commend ‘Christ Illuminated‘ to you? It’s a brand new book that’s been beautifully written by my friend and fellow author, Joy Margetts, which contains 24 short daily devotions. Each one is designed to help us take time, during Advent, to focus on the different names or descriptors, given to Jesus, in the Bible.
Today I am delighted to welcome Joy to the blog, to answer some questions about her life, her writing and the back story to ‘Christ Illuminated’. Joy is also kindly giving away a signed copy of ‘Christ Illuminated’ to one lucky winner – so please sign up to my mailing list to be in with a chance of winning it!
It’s lovely to have you here today, Joy. Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me. I am a retired nurse, wife, mother and grandmother and, despite being born and bred in Southern England, I now make my home on the beautiful North Wales coast.
Where I live is a huge source of inspiration to me, the stunning landscapes, the history, and most particularly the spiritual history all around us. My other inspiration is my experience of God’s work in my own life and the truth of his Word.
I have always loved writing, but becoming a published author came suddenly and surprisingly when my first novel, ‘The Healing’ was accepted by a publisher and published in March 2021. I have since published two further novels, ‘The Pilgrim’ in July 2022, and ‘The Bride’ in October 2023.
You’ve written several books, but they have all been historical fiction. Why did you go for such a different genre this time?
I love the Word of God passionately, and have the honour of being able to both teach it and write about it. A few years ago, I did a series of Bible studies on the names of Jesus, and shared them as short daily blogs for the people who attended our church in the lead up to Christmas. These little devotional pieces were well received and brought much encouragement. Last Advent, I reworked them and released them again to a wider audience on my blog – and more than one person asked me whether I had considered publishing them as a book.
It has long been a dream of mine to have a devotional book published, so I prayed about it and talked to a few people who know about publishing these kind of books, and then approached a publisher with my idea. That was in December of last year, and I heard nothing back, so assumed they were not interested. I had accepted that what I had written wasn’t what they wanted to publish, and that God wanted me to focus on my fiction writing, which I did. And then, out of the blue, in May of this year, I received an email from the publisher, with an offer to publish my Advent Devotional. It seemed to be a God ordained thing, and so I signed the contract. An intense few months later, and the book was finally released!
What inspired you to come up with the title of your book, ‘Christ Illuminated‘?
My fiction writing is all based in medieval Wales, with abbeys and monks featuring significantly. Originally I came up with the title ‘Christ Illuminated’ to fit in with the medieval theme of my fiction – referring to the illuminated manuscripts that were produced by monks in abbey scriptoriums, and as a nod to the covers of my fiction books, which all feature illuminated capital letters.
But it soon became clear that ‘Christ Illuminated’ could also refer to the revelation light that studying the Biblical descriptions of Jesus could bring to hearts and minds, and then I came up with the subtitle, ‘Seeing Jesus for who he is’. My prayer is that, by using this devotional, the reader will be illuminated, and maybe ‘see’ Jesus in new and fresh ways, worship him and grow closer to him.
This book focuses on the different names attributed to Jesus. Why do you think these names matter, and how did you choose which ones to feature?
Every one of these names matter because they are the way that God describes Jesus through his Word in the Bible. Each one is there for a reason and has something different to teach us about the character and person of Christ. One of the people who endorsed the book put it this way:
“Joy Margetts’ gentle voice guides us through his many names with care and passion. Her writing follows rabbinic tradition by holding each scripture up to the light like a jewel, so we can appreciate different facets of the whole.“
And another like this:
“This book is like a casket full of treasures, each day showing a different beautiful aspect of who Jesus is. It is not just a book of theories about him, but offers daily invitations to deepen our relationship with him – the greatest treasure of all!“
Many of the names I chose to focus on are familiar ones – The Good Shepherd, The Door, The Light of the World – others are less so. I wanted to show how all of Scripture points to Jesus, and so there are Old Testament prophecies, alongside names Jesus gave Himself in the New Testament, with the last section focussing specifically on names that we might associate with the Christmas story.
Finally, how can readers find out more about your and your writing, and how can they get hold of a signed copy of ‘Christ Illuminated’?
I have a website that people can visit: www.joymargetts.com. There is lots of information there about me, my books, my blog, and some background to my writing journey. There is also a shop where all my books can be purchased, including ‘Christ Illuminated’, and people can sign up to join my mailing list to receive regular updates about my writing and occasional special offers.
Your readers can also get ‘Christ Illuminated’ from all good online bookstores and in their local Christian bookshops. They can also get a signed copy through your giveaway, by signing up to your newsletter!
Having read what Joy has to say, here are some thoughts for you to ponder:
How easy or difficult do you find it to focus on Jesus in the midst of the busyness of Advent? Why do you think this is?
If you were to choose only one name or descriptor, of Jesus, in the Bible, which one would it be, and why?
As ever, constructive comments are welcome below.