In her latest post, “Creativity During Advent”, Vinita Hampton Wright invites us to imagine that Jesus is going to be born in our neighborhood. The following is where my imagination took me.

It is a somber, grey, cold day in my part of the world. The hill behind my house is lost in a cloud. I can’t even imagine how the Jura looks this morning. It is a bit lonely in my big house, half of which is covered up by the painters’ tarp. A fire was started in the stove, with wettish bark. It created hoodles of smoke which started the fire alarm. The phone rang. The security agency calling to know if they were to phone the firemen. My husband was running all over the house opening windows to let the smoke escape.

This is when I heard the bell ring at the old front door. I rushed downstairs to answer, afraid a neighbor had been alarmed as well. But no, at the door, a man and a pregnant woman — both looking as if coming from a Southern country.

“My car just broke down. I was driving my wife to the closest hospital. I see you have a car in your driveway. Could you take us?” Suddenly the young woman clutches the front-door in pain. Water runs down her legs. “I can’t go further. I can’t.” Panic fills her eyes and her husband frantically racks his brain to find a solution. “I have a bedroom upstairs. Can you take her there?” He looks at me, afraid for her. Then, he takes her in his arms and follows me.

We walk through an empty corridor, a freshly painted staircase, another corridor, to our bedroom, where a wood fire sings in the stove. “But it’s your room,” he says. “I know, but it’s the only one I can offer you at this time.”

He helps her remove her clothes. I bring her a housedress she can lay down in. “Oh, dear, I believe the baby is coming.” While he talks to her soothingly, I call to my husband asking him to boil some water and prepare a basin. It will not be easy to find clean towels — they have all been put away for the renovation. I google “emergency birth at home” and we follow the instructions. Suddenly the head appears, the shoulders, the baby slips out — small, perfect, unique. He lets a cry out.

Now it is time to straighten up room to leave the mother and her baby boy in a safe environment. The baby is fast asleep on his mother, both exhausted and happy.

“Would you mind if I gave a few phone calls? Could my family come and see the new baby?” I nod and smile. Forgetting my usual selfishness, I can’t see any problem with more strangers coming to our house.

Within minutes, a couple of cars park outside, by the church. Her husband is waiting outside and take the new arrivals upstairs to the infant. A while later, our bedroom is filled with happy people, surrounding the mother and her baby in the bed. “A new life is a blessing to all,” they all repeat. There is kindness and joy flowing through the room and the whole incomplete house.

Our daughter and Sasha her dog are returning from their morning walk. Smelling something afoot, Sasha rushes upstairs barking. She’s coming to the bedroom and an older man bends toward her, calling her softly, his hand out to pet her. She calms down right away. Her mistress arrives just then and smiles at the man. She calls her dog and takes her back downstairs.

The visitors do not stay long, understanding the mother and her baby need to rest. The new Dad sits next to the two of them beaming. As the family and friends leave the house, the older man turns to me with a soft, gentle smile. “Thank you for inviting my son and his wife in. You’re very kind. If you have a prayer, tell God. I’m sure he’ll answer it.” I wave goodbye and they’re all gone.

I sit in the kitchen, pondering his suggestion. I know. “Dear God, give me the grace to open my house to those in need of a place to rest.”A