Black and white picture of New Jerusalem Bible open at the passage for the circumcision of John the Baptist

His name is John: Elizabeth writes to Mary

I was contemplating what it must have been like for Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. She went  through childbirth in her old age, knowing she would not live see her son minister and having to wrestle with the religious and political tensions of her culture. It can’t have been easy. This is an imagined letter written from Elizabeth to Mary (her cousin and the mother of Jesus), inspired by the events told in Luke’s gospel chapter 1, verses 5-25 and 57-80.

By the way: this piece was so popular when I first wrote it, that I wrote a sequel: a monologue from Mary’s point of view when Jesus is 12 years old and they travel to Jerusalem. If you like this sketch, be sure to read that one too: Skandalon: Mary teaches the boy Jesus.

Elizabeth, a delighted mother whom God has mercifully remembered in her old age,

To Mary, my dear cousin and blessed mother to be,

Peace be with you.

It seems but a day since you returned to Galilee, and yet I know it has already been some three months. Please forgive me for taking so long to write to you.

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