There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." Then they said to him, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,'" as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, "Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?" John answered them, "I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal." This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
Word was sent today from Momma and Papa. They are fine but concerned about us because people are looking for us. Men from the temple, good, faithful believers would have us punished or put to death! A young man had run all the way at night, making sure he wasn't followed. Samuel is an old friend, we have grown up together. When I first saw him I thought something terrible had happened to Momma or Papa and I started to cry. I don't know what's wrong with me. I sobbed my eyes out. Samuel had to wait a long time before they could calm me down and he could deliver the letter they had sent. I was embarrassed afterwards. And I also realized that I hadn't been very nice to my parents before we left. I am a swirl of regret and anxiety here in the strange place out in the middle of nowhere.
Anyway, after I got settled down and Joseph read the letter out loud, we sat and talked about the journey ahead. The people from our village know we are going to Bethlehem so we can't take the usual route that others will be taking. I cried again alone with Joseph who did his best to comfort me. Our trip will take so much longer! I want to be home with Momma when my time comes! Auntie, everything seems so hard and so challenging! Why would God make religious people hate us? And why is it so hard after saying yes to God? I know there are no good answers right now. I just wish it was a bit easier. I'm sorry I sound like I whining child. That's how I feel some days.
I will let you know where we are and how we get on. I just don't know what the plan is yet. The men are looking at maps and huddled together at the table right now. Send my love to your sweet baby, John. More than ever, we need your prayers.
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.