My preaching year hasn't begun very well. This morning we're having everyone come to the front for communion. We do this about four times a year, and most people love the experience. So often when we take communion, we never interact with one another. It's as if we were in cubicles. It's more of an altar rather than a table (to borrow from the wonderful insights of John Mark Hicks in Come to the Table). On these Sundays, we're able to sing more, we actually see each other, pray for each other, greet each other, and bless each other. That's hard to pull off in such a large church, but I think most are deeply blessed. Anyway, to bring us to the table, I'm speaking on the image of pregnancy and childbirth. To get a glimpse of where this might go, read John 16:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, and Romans 8:22. A couple weeks ago I asked my assistant to find me a "really pregnant woman." "How pregnant?" Gina wanted to know. "REAL pregnant." So Gina talked to WK, who is due the second week of January with her first child. Then I crafted a sermon around an interaction on Sunday morning with WK. She came in Friday and we went through the Q & A part. As she left, I jokingly said, "You'll still be around Sunday, won't you?" She laughed and said, "Oh, yes. I just saw the doctor and he said there's no way I'll go into labor for another week." Then I went back to preparing my sermon on the suddenness and unpredictability of childbirth. You're way ahead of me, aren't you? Last night, just before a houseful of people came over, I got a call to tell me that WK was in labor and that she and her husband had gone to the hospital. So this morning I get to encourage people to receive the body and blood of Jesus in a spirit of watchful anticipation, knowing that the Lord could appear at any time. My sermon is in a bit of disarray, however, since I didn't pay enough attention to what the text had been saying all along! You don't know! I hope my attentiveness to scripture improves this year. Blessings on you in 2006. And for now, we welcome Highland's newest member: Casen Matthew K., who was born at 12:25 this morning.