It's only a week and a half until November. That means a week and a half until this releases...
In all the excitement of visiting England and seeing the settings for my Bethany House books, Giver of Wonders hasn't been talked about much. But now, with November and release upon us . . . well, it's time to talk about Christmas. =)
I wanted to write a Christmas book--that's one of the reasons that I sat down, a couple years ago, and began this story. Except that it isn't a traditional Christmas book. It's set around 290 AD, well before recognizable Christmas traditions began. There were no evergreen trees lit up. No snow, certainly, where this takes place in modern-day Turkey (Lycia at the time). There were no stockings and tinsel and jolly elves in red.
But there were gifts. And they came down a chimney. And there was the man on whom the jolly elf in red was, loosely, based.
There were miracles instead of magic. There was Jesus and his birth, celebrated among the early church on the Winter Solstice (December 25 at the time). There was sacrifice, and there was family, and there was love.
It took me forever to write this book. Or at the very least, a year longer than I intended it to do. I struggled a bit to put my vision for who the real St. Nicholas might have been onto the page, and to do so in a way that stuck with my usual formula for a biblical novel. Because, of course, this story isn't primarily about Nikolaos (as it would have been spelled in Greek...with English letters, LOL.) It's about fictional characters Cyprus Visibullis and her sisters. Who are, in my version of events, the sisters around whom one of our most beloved Christmas traditions was born.
Because Nik gave more than gifts to children who really don't need them. He gave gifts to those who needed them most, and he gave them anonymously. He gave hope to those who were lost. He gave life and healing to those who were broken and desperate.
Nikolaos was a man of God. And though my novelized version of him is probably pretty far from the real man who led the church in Myra all those centuries ago, I pray it gets to the heart of him. And to why he's still celebrated today.
So though my focus hasn't been on it much yet, I'm so excited to share Giver of Wonders with the world, and I look forward to talking about parts of it each Wednesday in the next month or so. It's a Christmas story that you can read in any season. Because ultimately, it's not about the day Jesus was born.
It's about the love that ought to fill His followers all year.