The church is gathering now, sitting and listening and singing and praying. Churching. But instead of being there I am being here, at home with a sick boy. Sitting and listening and singing and praying. Churching.

It is one week till Christmas day. The children are excited. As excited as they can be while the flu makes a run through our home. And I’m thinking, as I am alone with my boy, as he sleeps restlessly on the couch beside me, of the week before his birth. Of the effort it all was. Walking, standing, showering. Even sleeping was difficult in my restlessness. The way I had to lift my belly and wiggle around awkwardly to turn over in bed. He was coming and I was waiting.

Pregnant waiting is a special kind of waiting. Excited but anxious, ready but not ready, wanting to hold him in arms but regretful of the loss of carrying him inside. Dreading the pain of his birth but ready to accept the joy of him. Pregnant waiting.

I think of the word as it’s used in other ways. A pregnant pause. A moment pregnant with expectation. Always there is a hushing. A taking in of breath and a suspension of action before the release, the exhalation. The birth.

It is the week before and I sense the readying. I am nesting. Preparing for the birth. It is the week before and I sense the hush. The pause. The something-is-about-to-happen feeling.

Because it is the week before, and in the midst of the getting ready, the awesomeness of what is about to take place settles me like a prayer. His birth, holy and human, is at hand.

… the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2: 6-7