Today if the fourth Sunday of Advent: Love.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent: Joy.
Today is the second Sunday of Advent: Peace.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent: Hope
Have you heard of Priscilla and Aquila? If you’ve read the Book of Acts in the Bible, you’ll recognize their names since they’re a couple who worked with the Apostle Paul. Something notable about these two is that Priscilla is not only listed alongside her husband, but listed first, which is nearly unheard of in a highly patriarchal society. With this background, I couldn’t wait to read Tessa Afshar’s historical novel, Daughter of Rome, featuring Priscilla and Aquila.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or so the song claims. I tend to agree, but also know that such expectation can often leave us wanting more. The wonder and magic of the season can get lost amid the running around, the shopping, the parties, the traveling. Not to mention wrestling with emotional disappointments, family drama, and personal loss. With so much riding on this season it is easy to let it drag us down when it seems like it should pick us up.
Whenever I say, ‘Santa Lucia,’ I can’t help picturing – and, frankly, hearing – Don Knots attempting to sing the traditional Italian song as Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show. So many other, better singers have recorded it, but for some reason, Knots’ is the version that sticks in my head.
However, that was not my first interaction with the celebration known as the Feast Day of St. Lucy. I first learned about the primarily Swedish holiday from Kristen’s Surprise, one of the books in Kristen’s American Girl series. Being part Swede and part Italian myself, Santa Lucia Day has become a holiday that fascinates me.
This past summer, I had the privilege of attending the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While I was there, I had the opportunity to meet Tessa Afshar, author of several novels. I had read her book Thief of Corinth and told her how much I enjoyed it, especially since Biblical fiction is not often one of my favorite genres. She immediately suggested that I would probably like another of her books, Harvest of Rubies.
Angela Hunt’s latest novel, King’s Shadow, is based on the years of King Herod’s reign before the calendar turns to the Common Era. It follows two women, one fictional, one historical, as they seek to survive amid treachery, rumors, and conspiracy.