We were waiting for the messenger.
Or, rather, we were waiting for the message but had no way of getting it without the messenger.
We had been told to prepare – like bridesmaids readying the wedding feast, like servants tending to the master’s household in his absence – but we weren’t sure what the proper method was.
How should we make the way straight for the One to arrive? What should that preparation involve?
And when he appeared, this messenger bearing this important message, we barely recognized him.
He seemed out of place, almost like he belonged to a distant, foreign land. He wore a second-skin of dirt; he hadn’t showered in weeks. His accent was strange, his manner was direct, and his eyes were fire.
He came to us through the river, and when he emerged, the water sluiced off him as he radiated energy. There was no doubt, then, that this was he, the one who bore the word for which we waited. He faltered not a step as he walked to us, his voice trembled not a measure as he delivered his news.
“The One who is more powerful than I is following after me; I am not even worthy to stoop down to untie his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
We held our breath as we soaked up every word.
Though we were all quaking slightly with the fear and intensity of the moment, we knew in our deepest hearts the truth: this message was good news.
And this was only the beginning.