I’ve already mentioned it once in the early stages of this countdown, and undoubtedly, I will mention it several times more before we hit number 1. Christmastime is synonymous, in so many ways, with the time spent with Brad and his family all throughout the year.
Brad’s parents, Bob and Bev, were my “second set.” They provided a place where I always felt at home, secure, at peace, and happy. From 1981 to the mid-1990’s, I had a sanctuary to call home if I ever needed to get away or just feel loved in a way that had no attachments or conditions.
Now, I have to stress that there was never a problem in my own home. My parents were wonderful in every way, as were/are my brothers and my sister. There was just something about Bob and Bev’s home, though, that attracted so many of us and made us feel safe. A home away from home, even if we were just minutes away from our folks.
Perhaps more than any other time of year, though, it was Christmas that defined their love and generosity. Their Christmas celebrations were unparalleled. In fact, the lower rooms of their home were always decorated for the holidays, with lights, a tree, and tinsel. There’s something about keeping the magic of Christmas with you year-round.
Anyway, I don’t exactly know why, but this song, as sung by Burl Ives, has always reminded me of Bob and of his festive, happy, loving spirit of Christmas that he radiates each day of the year. His health has declined recently, and I continue to keep him in my thoughts and prayers as we move toward Christmas day.
For Bob, it is more about the celebration of Christ’s birth than it is about the gifts. It’s always been that way. He is such a spiritual man, and he will be the first person to tell you it is God’s love that beams through him, reaching all of us.
Maybe we all need to do that. Reach deep inside of us, whatever our beliefs, and embrace more fully the spirit that defines our happiness, our path, our origins of love. Through this deeper understanding of life, may all of our days — not just at Christmastime — be a little more jolly.