the road to Christmas ~ part four ~ advent series ~

mum tells a story

Excited, I buttoned up my coat and pulled my boots on. “I’m ready, Daddy.” 

Mum poked her head into the hallway. “You’ll need your hat, mitts and scarf too, Denise. It’s freezing cold out there tonight.”


“Where are we going, Daddy?”

“You’ll see.”

“Is it just you and me?”

“Yes. I need a big, strong helper.” Dad smiled and winked at Mum.

A blast of wintery air blew past us as we opened the door. Mum was right, it was cold.

We ran to the car and clambered in.

“Is it a long ride?”

“Not very.”

“Will we be home for Christmas morning?”

“Yes. We’ll even be home for Christmas Eve.”

“Oh Daddy. It is Christmas Eve!”

I watched the snowflakes hit the front window of the car. The windshield wipers swooshed them off, but more kept coming. They came so fast I couldn’t count them all. And then the windshield wipers stopped.

“Why did we stop, Daddy?”

“We’re here! I told you it wouldn’t take long.”

Dad held my hand as we looked at the Christmas trees. They were white with snow. There were only a few left, but we chose the very best Christmas tree I’d ever seen! 


I was glad I was holding onto Dad’s hand as we climbed up the stairs. They were slippery! We went in the store and Dad gave the man some money. 

“Merry Christmas!” Dad said to the man as we walked towards the door. 

“Merry Christmas!” I said as we went outside. 

“By Jove!” Dad said as we stood at the top of the stairs. “Where’s the car?”

“Silly Daddy, the car’s right… Daddy, where’s the car?”

Dad held my hand as we hurried and slipped down the stairs. The snow was coming fast. We couldn’t see very far in front of us. We got to the place where we had left the car, and sure enough there were fresh tire tracks. My eyes followed the tracks as Dad’s eyes looked up. There, across the road was our car. 



“Did the car get tired of waiting, Daddy?”

We loaded up the tree and soon arrived home.

“Mummy, Mummy, the car left without us!”

Mum was in the kitchen stirring something in a big pot on the stove. In the middle of the table was a big plate of cookies.

“Are you alright? Did you have to walk home?”

“Yes, we’re fine. I think the emergency brake must have let go and the car slid down the hill to the road. We could have found the car smashed, but God looked after it for us.” Dad smiled at me. “We would have looked pretty funny walking home with a tree.”

“I’m so glad everything turned out in the end. Alright now, everyone wash your hands, and we’ll have a Christmas Eve treat before we go to bed.”

Soon we were all at the table choosing the best cookies while Mum gave us all a cup of cocoa. Karen and Merv were already in their pyjamas. It was almost past their bedtime!


“Would you like me to tell you a story?” 

“Yes, please!”

Mum told the best stories. And she hardly ever used a book to tell them. Mum took a sip of her cocoa, set her cup on the table and the story telling began…


‘We picked a good tree didn’t we, Dad? And now it’s all decorated it looks great. That angel you made for the top, Mum, is beautiful.’

‘Yes, it did turn out pretty good. Well, Joan, it’s getting late and it’ll be a big day tomorrow with Grandma and Grandad coming, as well as all your aunts and uncles and cousins.’

‘I hope you won’t be getting up too early in the morning—don’t come in to us before 7:00. And, no opening any gifts!’

‘Oh Dad, it’s so hard to sleep in on Christmas morning, but I’ll try. Goodnight Mum. Goodnight Dad.’

Joan ran upstairs, cleaned her teeth, changed into her PJs, then turned out the light. Before getting into bed, she looked out the window.

The street looks so pretty with all the lights and that big moon in the sky. And so many stars out tonight. I wonder if the sky was like this on the night Jesus was born, when the angels visited the shepherds in the fields?

She climbed into bed and snuggled down in the blankets. Yawning, Joan began to pray, Thank you Jesus for being willing to come to earth and pay for our sins by dying on the cross so that one day we may live with you in heaven. I wonder if you have a birthday party… Sleep overtook her prayers.



The sun streamed through Joan’s window as she rubbed her eyes. She must have slept late! Running into Mum and Dad’s bedroom she sang, ‘Merry Christmas!’ But they weren’t there. Why didn’t they wake her up? She ran downstairs. ‘Merry Christmas, Mum and Dad!’ Where were they? Then she saw a note on the table. ‘Dad’s gone to work and I’ve just gone to the shops.’ Christmas Day and Dad’s gone to work and Mum to the shops? But it’s Christmas Day! 

Joan dressed quickly and ran down the street to find her mum and ask what was going on. As she passed the school, one of her classmates shouted to her. ‘Why aren’t you coming to school?’

‘But it’s Christmas Day. It’s a holiday. I’m just going to find my mum.’ 

‘Well, I’ve never heard of that holiday before.’

Joan was halfway down the street. She was in a hurry to find her mum. ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Wood,’ she said as she went into the corner shop. ‘Have you seen my mum this morning?’ ‘Your mum left about ten minutes ago, but what was that you said?’

‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Wood. It’s Christmas day.’ 

‘Well, I’ve never heard of that before.’

She was already out of the store and looking around for her mum. What was going on? No one seemed to have heard about Christmas. She decided to go to her church to see if her mum was there and if not, to talk to her pastor. As she ran along she noticed the hospital was missing. How could that be? Then further along where the church should be was a big empty space. What was going on? 


She decided to go home, maybe Mum would be there by now. 

‘Mum are you home?’ No one was there. She saw the Bible on the table so she picked it up and decided to read the Christmas story while she waited for Mum to get home.

Flipping through the pages, she was reminded how she loved the story about Noah and wondered how he had managed to get all the animals in the ark. Then the Psalms. She had memorized Psalm 23, it was her favourite. Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den but God kept him safe. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish that took him where he didn’t want to go.

Wait a minute! Where was the New Testament and the story of Jesus? This Bible only has the Old Testament. Oh no! Does that mean Jesus the Messiah hasn’t been born yet?

If Jesus was never born, then He wouldn’t have lived. There would be no disciples, no miracles or parables. Jesus would never have been on the cross. He wouldn’t have had all our sins put on him and taken the punishment for us. If Jesus didn’t die for our sins then there would be no gift of salvation. We wouldn’t be able to have a friendship with God. We wouldn’t be able to talk with God. And there would be no Way to Heaven. No Way to God. 

‘Come on. Wake up sleepyhead.’

‘It’s not like you to sleep so late on Christmas morning.’

“Oh Mum, Dad, is it really Christmas morning?’

‘Well, of course it is.’

‘What would we do if Jesus hadn’t been born? We wouldn’t have a Saviour! Oh, I’m so happy it was just a dream! What a Merry Christmas!’”


“Mummy, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.”

“If Jesus wasn’t born, we wouldn’t have Christmas, would we?”

“No, we wouldn’t.”

“If Jesus wasn’t born, then He wouldn’t die on the cross would he?”

“No, Denise, He wouldn’t.”

“So, there’d be no Easter, because if He didn’t die, then He couldn’t come back to life—right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“So, we wouldn’t have a way to get to Heaven?”

“No, we wouldn’t.”

“I’m glad Jesus was born.”

“We are, too.”

“Okay, time for bed you three.”

“Daddy, can we have just one more cookie?”


My Mum was one of the best storytellers I’ve ever known. She didn’t just tell you the story, she took you into the story—to that place and time. You lived the story with her as she weaved it with words, expression and emotion. Mum told us that story during many Christmastimes. And I would lay awake at night and think about that story and wonder, what if Jesus never came? What would the world be like without His mercy and love? What would I be like without His amazing grace?

The road trip that Christmas Eve was one of the shortest I’ve ever been on, just a few minutes of time in a life now decades old. Just one evening in a lifetime of evenings. One memory of a story that has stayed with me on all of life’s road trips. A story that has haunted my journey in the very best way.

Haunted it with a question that we all need to answer—what if Jesus never came into my life because I didn’t ask Him to?


Let’s journey together…



  1. Jillian

    Another beautiful piece Denise, thank you! ❤️

    • denise budd rumble

      You’re more than welcome!

  2. Merv Budd

    I remember mom’s stories too 🙂

    • denise budd rumble

      We have lots of good memories! 🙂

  3. Grace

    Wow, such a cool story! Thank you for sharing!

    • denise budd rumble

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. Sandra Williams

    Great story telling Denise! A lovely way of expressing the true meaning and importance of Christmas!

    • denise budd rumble

      Thanks, Sandra. 🙂

  5. Bonnie

    Thanks for sharing your gift with us. A sweet reminder to enjoy this holiday!

    • denise budd rumble

      My pleasure!


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