In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. Luke 1:39-56
Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
We are staying on the edge of the city with an elderly couple that Papa knows. Papa sent word that things had quieted down at home of late. It seems that after a few days folks stopped looking for us and just let it be. They still want us to be very careful and Simon and Lydia (the people we are staying with) promised to send word that we are fine. They are themselves worried about us since they have witnessed a huge crush of people pouring into Bethlehem. It seems as if this government is trying to extract every last ounce of money from the poorest and the most vulnerable. Simon will go with us tomorrow to help find us lodging in the city. Lydia is not able to travel but she has instructed Simon which wise woman he should contact so that they will be prepared if I give birth while there. They are very thoughtful but their planning is making me more anxious, although it seems to comfort Joseph. I guess I am just a ball of nerves - and I am shaped like a ball!
Tomorrow we descent into a river of people, noise and jostling. Lydia filled a tub for me and told me to wash myself all over in preparation for the coming of the child. She thinks he will come in the next few days. I would rather be having this baby anywhere but in the dirty, loud and chaotic city of Bethlehem. God is in charge and I have pledged to see this through, but I do wish it was not so hard and confusing. The bath did soothe my nerves some, so I guess I will have to take the comforts when I can find them. Please pray for me and tell me how best to be ready for the birth.
Sending love to you and your menfolk,