The beginning of Jesus’ story anticipates the end of our story which because of Jesus will not be as final as it otherwise might have been. And like the messenger who prepared Jesus’ way through the wilderness Jesus makes straight our crooked paths so that our crying out will be shouts of victory and not cries of lament. But the end of our salvation story does not deny the hard path walked by John or Jesus. Both paid dearly for their proclamation of the truth and while resurrection is certainly a happy ending to what would have been a tragic tale the marks of suffering remain to remind us that it was the baptism of His death that forgave our sin. So we who benefit from John’s prophecy and by virtue of our baptism by the Holy Spirit are joined to Jesus’ death walk on paths that are sometimes as hard and unyielding as the ones they walked but because the Good News begun has walked all the world’s paths we never walk them alone.