Monday, December 31, 2018

Light - Mary Letter Day 29

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” John 8:12-19 

Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

The light has changed everything. People keep coming by night, strangers who want to understand this sign, this amazing star in the sky. They come with hope and gifts. They want a new world, new possibilities, and a new life in the midst of such traumatic times. Somehow, we host folks at night, although our guardian women are very particular as to who they let see our child. When the world turns, when people suspect that God is doing a new thing, they just need to draw near.

We have been talking, Joseph and I, about how this child changes everything. I guess all new parents feel this way. We are not who we used to be, at all! We are totally responsible for a very tiny, vulnerable human being. And our little one is a promise from God, the incarnate hope of the world! We have to reorder our thinking and our way of being. I'm not complaining. It's wonderful and he's wonderful. But it is as if I have a new skin to get used to, a new name to adjust to, a new world that does not resemble our former world. Our home is far away and yet somehow, we are right here at home, the three of us. 

Praying for you and aching to hear how your life is these days. We got a brief note from Poppa and they are very happy for us, but missing us terribly!



Saturday, December 29, 2018

God's Word - Mary letter Day 28

First Sunday After Christmas

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He
 was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him 
not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was 
the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
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. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know
 him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who
 received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who 
were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as
 of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was 
he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'")
 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given 
through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. 
It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.
 John 1:1-18

Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

yesterday I stayed away form food and folks, as I wasn't feeling very well. I was terribly sick
to my stomach and was worried the baby would be sick as well. He seems very robust and
growing every day. Joseph was so worried that he sent for the women who attended my birth.
They came and looked me over and said I would be fine, but I needed to rest more, and drink
plenty of fresh water. Learning how to be a good mother and provide enough milk for a
hungry baby is very taxing. They kept all the visitors away, and would let no one come by
when the star appeared again at night. They even watched they baby so I could sleep as
much as possible. They are now watching me like hawks! I do feel a lot better, and know I
have to take care of myself so I can take care of him.

Joseph has been reading to me from the scriptures, as I cannot yet leave this confinement.
I am hearing ancient words come to life, promises of the Holy One, who knew that this
time would need a Savior. Somehow, so many things make more sense to me. And some
things, are more confusing than ever. I wish I could understand what is ahead for us. The
initial fears about being found out by the authorities are past. But there is a good deal to
worry about still. The occupiers are quite violent with our people, and ridicule our ways.
Joseph has been very careful with our money, and is finding some carpentry work to help
since we will be here longer than expected. He is trying to be positive and encouraging in
everything, yet I know he worries like I do. This is not home for us. And we really have
no idea when we can return home.

I hope if we cannot come back home soon, we might stay with you and your family.
We would make ourselves useful, if it came to a long stay, if we cannot return home.
At this point, we have no idea what to expect!

Much love,


Collect - Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: 
Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus 
Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Holy Innocents - Mary Letter Day 27

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!
“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.
“Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” Matthew 18:1-14 
Dear Elizabeth,
we are remaining in Bethlehem for the time being, although there are rumors abounding that our little one is in danger. Stories have reached the ruler that there is a  new king born in the city and he is not happy. These occupiers are ruthless and don't care who they kill. They would destroy children just to keep their power. Fortunately, no one would think to look in this most humble stable for us. It breaks my heart to imagine anyone capable of hurting children. I can't imagine how horrible it must be for a mother to lose a child.
My little boy grows brighter and stronger every day. I am sure all mothers say that their child is the most beautiful and sweet, but, Auntie, this little guy is very special. Oh, he wakes me up at night and is insistent when he's hungry, but he makes my heart glad and my spirit marvel at the goodness of God. No matter how fearful and worried I might become, a moment with him, and I am made new. These little ones must be so very precious to our Creator. It's as if I can see the hand of God in the tender little hands and feet of my baby.
We have visitors on a regular basis and are never without fruits and meat. Folks want to shower us and take care of us. It is extraordinary! The kindness and generosity is truly astounding, and despite the challenges behind and ahead, we are reveling in these tender moments.
much love,

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A New Song - Mary Letter Day 26

O sing to the 
Lord a new
song, for he
 has done 
His right hand
 and his holy
 arm  have
 gained him 
The Lord has
 made known
 his victory;
 he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love
 and faithfulness
   to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
   the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
   break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
   with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
   make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
   let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
   to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
   and the peoples with equity. 

Dear Momma and Poppa,

my heart is so full! Our trip was arduous, but we made it fine
and whole in to Bethlehem. When we arrived the town was
swarmed with people so there was no place for us to stay! 
Joseph had been very careful with our money, so we could 
afford an inn. There were none to be had! We finally were 
offered clean straw and blankets and room in an inn's stable!
We were so tired and grateful at that point! Almost
immediately my pains started and Miriam, one of the innkeepers,
went and got the local wise women who helped me through
the birth. He is perfect and Joseph was so brave throughout.
Everyone here has been showering us with food and small 

We have had some extraordinary visitors as well. People have
crowded in to this small stable because an extraordinarily bright
star has appeared above us. Folks want to see this wondrous 
little boy, and stories are being told already about his importance
and miraculous life. Some want him to be the one who frees us
from the Roman occupation! I tell them to let him grow and then 
see what he becomes! Some folks have come singing strange,
wonderful new songs to our little son. Oh, you will just love him
when you see him! I know it will be very soon!

I so wished to be home for the delivery, but God has kept
us safe and warm throughout. I miss you both so very much!



Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pondering - Mary Letter Day 25

In that region there
 were shepherds living 
in the fields, keeping 
watch over their flock 
by night. Then an angel 
of the Lord  stood 
before them, and the
 glory of the Lord shone
 around them, and they
 were terrified. But the 
angel  said to them, 
"Do not be  afraid;
 for see-- I am bringing
 you good news of great 
joy for all the people: 
to you is  born this
 day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 
This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands 
of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the
 angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds
 said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing
 that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they
 went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in
 the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been 
told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what
 the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and 
pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and
praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Luke 2:8-20

Dear Elizabeth,

this whole experience is more wonderful and overwhelming than
I could have imagined! The birth, which almost split my body
in two, was immediately overtaken by love so amazing and such
a feeling of deepest gratitude. And, on top of all that we have had
such an assortment of visitors! Such unexpected moments that I
barely know where to begin.

Late last night, when we were bedded down for sleep, our host
came reluctantly around to the stable where we have taken up
residence for the time being. He told us that there were visitors
for us and he would get rid of them for us if we wanted that. As
soon as the words were spoken, several young shepherd boys
came rushing in, followed by some older men holding new lambs.
They told us a remarkable story! While they were around the
fire tonight, the sky lit up with light. They were terrified that the
world was ending! They were overwhelmed by light and noise.
Several passed out in fear. Then they heard a voice telling them
to come and see our baby. They said they saw a huge flock of
angels, like nothing ever witnessed. The angels told them not
to be afraid but to get moving for God had done a new and
wonderful thing. They crowded around our new born boy,
and then they broke into song! They brought us food and
we sat up with them all night! Can you believe it?

Well, my little one is sleeping, so I better try to get some
sleep as well. I know my joy and excitement will soon be over-
taken by exhaustion!

love to all,


Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Day - Mary Letter Day 24

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary,
 to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her
 child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him
 in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was
 no place for them in the inn.
 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping
 watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood
 before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and
 they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be
 afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all
 the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, 
who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will
 find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the 
heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
 and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’
 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the
 shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem 
and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made
 known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and 
Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this,
 they made known what had been told them about this child;
 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told
 them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them
 in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God
 for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 
Luke 2:1-20

Dear Elizabeth,

What a night! The pains came steady and furiously. There were wise
women from the neighborhood here with me. Our in keeper, Miriam, 
stood by, making sure there was water, linens and food as needed. I
tried to be brave and not cry out, but sometimes I had to scream! It
was overwhelming one minute and then suddenly, it was over. A very
healthy and perfect little boy is here with us! All the worry and pain
seemed to disappear and I was caught up by the miracle of him. He's
perfect and beautiful! I know I'm his mother but he really is the most
wonderful baby in the world.

After the women got me cleaned up and settled, they brought us a
light meal and promised to come by and check on me everyday! I
was so excited I didn't think I could sleep, but then we were both 
out in minutes. It had been a long day and night and we slept hard
until my little one woke me up, crying and hungry. As I fed him, I
couldn't help but marvel at God's tremendous gift. The hard road
we have traveled now seem so insignificant to what we have
received. I promise I will write Momma and Poppa tomorrow to
tell them the good news as you instructed. They expected us back
by now, and deserve something to cheer about. I can't wait to
return home and show him off. I know they will love him!

love always,