the road to Christmas ~ part five ~ advent series ~

into the new year

Excited, I carefully stepped into the car and made sure my dress and coat weren’t bunched up underneath me before I sat down. “Merv, stop kicking your feet. You might get your dirty boots on my clean leotards!”

“Will it take long to get there, Dad?”

“No, not too long.”

“Will there be a lot of people there?” 

“We’ll have to wait and see.”

Soon we were getting out of the car. I stepped gingerly to avoid the snow and slush.

“Denise, why aren’t you wearing your boots? You’ll catch cold.”

“I’m okay, Mum. I’m staying out of the slush.”

Dad knocked at the door. Mum walked in, “Happy New Year!” I cringed. Karen and Merv were met at the door by our host’s kids and they ran upstairs to play. I walked into the kitchen.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked. Mum was already putting the kettle on.

“Can you take this bowl of sugar and little of jug of milk and put it on the table with the cups in the living room? Don’t spill it mind.”

“Yes. I’ll be careful.”


Once the sugar and milk were safely delivered I looked around the living and dining rooms. There were a lot of people standing around, talking. Everyone was dressed up. Men in suits, wearing ties. Women in fancy dresses. I smooth down the skirt of my dress and smiled politely. 

There was an array of fancy little sandwiches and crackers with stuff on them. Little squares of cheese had toothpicks stuck in them. All sorts of pickles lay in a fancy glass dish. There were little pink and white things that you dipped in sauce. And other things that were unfamiliar to me.

I jumped as the hostess rang a little bell behind me. “We’re so glad you were all able to come. Please enjoy the food and the company. Before we start, let’s pray.” 

She thanked God for the food and friends and the New Year. Then everyone filled their plates and stood around and ate and talked.

I picked up a plate and put things on it that I could identify. Little sandwiches with I-don’t-know-what in them. Pickles. Little squares of cheese, should I take the toothpick out before I put the cheese in my mouth? Or, should I use the toothpick to hold the cheese and take tiny bites around the toothpick? Then, what do I do with the toothpick? Where’s the garbage can?


Trying to look interested, grown-up, and slightly bored, I ate what was on my plate. I was glad I hadn’t taken too much.

“Mum, I don’t feel well.”

“It’s probably just the excitement. You’ll be fine in a minute.”

“But, Mum…”

“Denise, we’re talking, please don’t interrupt.” Then she gave me that look, so I wandered away.

I recognized a lot of the men and women from church. Our friends, who were hosting the party, attended the same church we did. But, everyone there was older than me. They were nice enough and said “hello” and “isn’t this a wonderful party”. Some asked me how school was going. But, what were they going to do after they finished eating? How long before they got to the fun stuff?

Turned out the fun stuff was eating and talking. The tables were restocked whenever the supplies got low. After a while the desserts showed up. I helped myself. After all, what else was there to do.

Almost asleep on a hard and uncomfortable folding chair, I almost fell off it when the bell rang loudly. “It’s almost midnight!” 

People moved around to stand beside their friends or spouse. The host and hostess passed what looked like little toys to everyone. Then they started counting, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, ONE!” Everyone kissed the closest one to them. Thankfully I was able to dodge the man with chocolate in his moustache. Then the room got so noisy I was sure we’d all get in trouble! Evidently the little toys made a lot of noise! “Happy New Year!”


“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind

Should auld acquaintance be forgot in days of auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, and days of auld lang syne.”

Old Father Time was kicked out into the street, and the cute Baby New Year had the limelight. It was the promise of a new and better year that infused the exuberant shouts of “happy new year.” And yet there was a sadness, a longing, and even a few tears around the room as they sang goodbye to the old.

I was glad to see the new year come. It would bring me a year closer to getting my beginner driver’s license. It would also mark the beginning of high school for me. I was a little nervous about high school, and the other unknowns the year would bring. But I also knew my Dad and Mum would watch out for me. Were there for me. I thought ahead to the possible road trips and smiled. Road trips were always an adventure!



And, road trips are still an adventure. Life is an adventure. Yes, road trips to other places and meeting other people. But, also the road trips of the ups and downs of life. Sometimes the road is smooth and the scenery is gorgeous. Other times the road is marked with potholes, detours, rain and grey landscapes. We never know what the day will bring… and that’s part of the adventure!

As we start our road trip into 2024, some of us have an idea of what will happen this year. Some of us have exciting events planned. Others of us are facing the unpleasant unknowns of surgery or health changes. But, the truth is, no matter how much we plan, or how much we think we know, the road is uncharted. 

My Dad and Mum are no longer here on this earth. They’re not here to make sure everything’s alright. That everything will turn out in the end. 

Mum’s yummy baking, her marvellous stories “from her mouth,” and her larger-than-life personality are sweet memories now.

Dad can’t hold my hand and keep me from slipping down a snowy set of stairs. It’s been many years since I pretended to be asleep while he gently carried me and tucked me into a makeshift bed in the back of our old car. Nowadays, if I need to go somewhere I have to drive myself. Dad’s not here to gently tend to my bumps and bruises, physical and emotional. And the sweeties I buy don’t taste nearly as good as the ones Dad shared from his pocket!


But, I’m not alone. My Heavenly Dad is with me. Every day. Every minute. He holds my hand and keeps me from slipping. He watches over me while I sleep, and when I’m awake. He’s with me when I drive down smooth roads. Or detouring around construction. Or through the fog and snow. Even when I don’t know where I’m going; He does! Traveling the road of life with God is the adventure of a lifetime. I have nothing to fear because He’s with me. He knows where I’m going and how to get me there.

The road of life is littered with change. Sometimes so much so that there’s no time to get stuck in a rut. We can tread fearfully and dread every new day. Or, we can be grateful for the adventure of every new day. It’s a choice. Even when we’re scared. Even when we don’t want to get out of bed.

Life is hard, but it’s also full of joy when you have Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your friend and guide. Because when God’s in control, life is an adventure. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Let’s journey together.


Let’s journey together…



  1. Sandra Williams

    I wouldn’t want it any other way either! Great story to start the New Year Denise!

    • denise budd rumble

      Thanks, Sandra!

  2. Bonnie Langstaff

    Great to be on the road with you. Felt I was at the dinner bored with you but sure thankful for the food.

    • denise budd rumble

      Yes. Always thankful for the food! 🙂


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