It may be unfashionable to say so, but the traditional preparatory seasons of the Christian year (Advent & Lent) really appeal to me. I find it helpful to take the time to reflect on the upcoming celebrations (Christmas & Easter, respectively), and to properly remember the real reason for those celebrations – the person, presence and work of Jesus Christ.

It should surprise no one, therefore, that I highly recommend Tim Chester’s advent devotional; ‘One True Light: Daily Readings for Advent from the Gospel of John’. In twenty-four short chapters, Chester leads the reader through John 1.1-18, unpacking the detail of every verse and relating to a different aspect of Jesus’ mission and identity. This book is remarkably comprehensive in its presentation of the Gospel story, from the calming of the storm to Moses’ revelations of God in the wilderness and back to Jesus’ death and resurrection. It isn’t particularly concerned with overflowing inns or magi bringing gifts (although “Santa Claus” does get an honourable mention); rather it is focused on the greatest gift of all – Jesus, the light, life and revealer of God’s glory.

‘The One True Light’ is written in Chester’s usual conversational style, full of relevant anecdotes as well as significant spiritual truths. And for those, like me, who also love a bit of Christmas, the reflections at the end of each chapter are based on traditional carols. This book is the perfect antidote to the crazy consumerism of Christmas, bringing us right back to the glorious Gospel message of the first Nativity.

Miriam Montgomery, Free Church Books