Patrick Higgins - When Angels Show Up in Unlikely Places

Patrick Higgins - When Angels Show Up in Unlikely Places

Patrick Higgins is the author of "The Pelican Trees", "Coffee in Manila", the two-time award-winning "The Unannounced Christmas Visitor", and the award-winning prophetic end times series, "Chaos in the Blink of an Eye." As our Author of the Day, Higgins tells us all about his book, The Unannounced Christmas Visitor.

Please give us a short introduction to what The Unannounced Christmas Visitor is about.

The story is set in a homeless community. Amid the constant violence, disarray, drug and alcohol abuse, and everything else common in most homeless settings, everything quickly changes after Enoch seemingly materializes out of nowhere, and starts transforming many at the city park, one life at a time.

His impact eventually stretches beyond the homeless encampment, when Enoch is asked to leave a local church a few blocks away, due to his overall appearance. Watching him being escorted from the church, Lydia Jensen is greatly dismayed. That one incident forever tainted the way she viewed her church and the people in it.

With her marriage in jeopardy and her husband slowly shrinking away from the family, and from life in general, Lydia prayed each day that God would intervene, before it was too late and everything they had built together was lost. After following the old man to the city park after church one day, without his knowledge, she went back the following morning to bring him food, and apologize for the way some at her church had silently judged him.

Little did she know her selfless act of kindness was the beginning stages of a total life transformation, or that Enoch was sent by God as an answer to her constant cries for help...

What inspired you to write about angels showing up in unlikely places?

The inspiration for this story came after reading Hebrews 13:2: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it…” I have read that Scripture many times. But on that day, my mind suddenly became alive with creativity. God planted a seed which ultimately turned into this story which, praise God, won the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in Christian fiction.

Why did you pick a homeless community as the backdrop for your book?

My twin brother has been feeding the homeless in the state of Florida, and beyond, since 2009. While this story doesn’t necessarily mirror his feeding ministry, there are many parallels. The other reason is that many churchgoers tend to forget it’s not the building that houses us, but the Spirit within us that constitutes the true Church. Oftentimes, in order to have the best impact on the communities in which we live, we need to leave the building...

Were there any interesting connections that you found—ways that this work fits with the rest of your books? 

Despite the story lines—which are all different—the one constant theme in my books is that they all have the Gospel message weaved throughout their pages. Can there be a more important theme? As for me personally, I think not.

What surprised you most from reader reactions to this book?

I guess it would have to be the personal e-mails I receive (which will never be published online), of lives changed, including some who confessed to being suicidal before reading the story. How can you put a price tag on that?

How do you balance all of the demands of a successful writing career (writing, appearances, etc.) and the myriad personal life demands?

I always try to stay within myself one hour at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time. If not, I could easily become overwhelmed and lose focus.

Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you’ve been struggling with?

Absolutely. Some of the personal struggles I’ve dealt with at certain times in my life have become themes throughout the stories I have written. One example is with a book I wrote, “The Pelican Trees.” At that time, I was struggling with forgiveness, namely, with forgiving others. It ended up becoming the main topic of the story. On some levels, it’s still my favorite book.

Among the wealth of characters in this book, who was the most difficult to create?

As much as I want to say Enoch, I think that distinction would fall on John Jensen. The severe depression he battles is something we all can relate to. Truth is, depression rears its ugly head in all of us on occasion, myself included. But as a Christ follower, just knowing I win in the end—as do all who trust in Christ for their redemption—it is usually short lived.

I take comfort knowing there’s no such thing as “depression” in Heaven, or any other self-debilitating issues, to include boredom. If there was a search engine in Glory, and you typed in that word, it would come back, “No results found.” How awesome is that?

Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters? 

Yes. None of us is perfect. We all have flaws. We all fall short. We all have weaknesses. We all need forgiveness. In short, we all share the very same addiction—sin—and all need redemption through Christ Jesus.

Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?

Enoch to John Jensen, “When individuals reach the highest pinnacles of success, but still cannot satisfy the constant hunger to find true meaning in life, with no place higher to climb, they see it all for what it really is, a chasing after the wind. What’s next suddenly turns into what’s the point?”

What this means to me is no matter what we set out to achieve in life, there will always be an inner void in us that can only be filled by God, in relationship with His Son, Christ Jesus. In the final analysis, everything else is merely chasing after the wind…

What are your writing habits? What does an average writing day look like to you?

When I am in my zone, and have no other commitments for that day, I wake up, brew a pot of coffee and get busy. It isn’t uncommon for me to break for lunch at 7 p.m., and end my day after midnight with a bad headache, from staring at words all day. But I’m not complaining; it’s a privilege serving God in this capacity, headaches and all...

What are you working on right now?

I just finished writing the sixth installment of my series, “Chaos in the Blink of an Eye”. After taking a short break to recharge my batteries, I will begin working on the seventh installment of the series, and finish a book I started writing 3 years ago, which contrasts megachurches in America with an underground church in Shanghai, China, where the believers face constant persecution and imprisonment, because of their faith in Jesus.

Whereas “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor” was inspired by Hebrews 13:2, this book was inspired by Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Needless to say, I am eager to finish this book.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

To contact author: [email protected]

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