COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Remembering Christmas 2012

By Fred Cavaiani

Christmastime goes from December 24 to December 31. By the time you read this, the first few days of Christmas celebration have passed. The days after Christmas are really the quiet times in which we reflect on what has really happened. It is a time when we become aware of why we have Christmas and family gatherings. We reflect on our family and friends and what they mean to us. In this reflective week, starting Christmas Eve and lasting until New Year's Eve, life seems to stand still for a moment. We try to postpone worrying and resolutions until January 1. Every experience in life that seems meaningful to us seems to surface in our hearts and minds in the last precious week of the year.

We received cards and notes from friends and acquaintances that we have known for many years. We remember our time spent with them. We attend Christmas parties and share memories with old friends and begin memories with new friends. And in this last week of the year we remember what experiences and who the people are that we most cherish in our life.

This "in-between" time offers us an enlightening viewpoint of the purpose of life. Watching friends and family give each other gifts has always inspired me. Experiencing our children and grandchildren open gifts with wide eyes and excited anticipation is a beautiful glimpse of love expressed in action. All the hours spent in picking out the gifts, the myriad of decisions to spend money to make other people happy, and the hugs after the gifts are opened, become a concrete example of what it must be like in heaven. It is also an example of what a world filled with Love could really be like.

To give love to another person is the greatest gift in the world. It is the meaning of Christmas. Whether it is Santa Claus or Jesus Christ - it is the story of giving unconditional love to another person. At Christmas no one really gets coal in their stockings. Santa Claus really does represent goodness and being naughty or nice is not really a prerequisite for getting gifts. There is no prerequisite for receiving God's love either. This is the meaning of Christmas: love coming to us unconditionally. It is also the challenge: to give love unconditionally to all. It is also the source of all happiness.

This last week of the year everyone is challenged to reflect on the purpose of life and the meaning of love. Celebrating Christmas propels us to do this. But in this quiet, reflective time when we might go to church, open gifts, eat a meal together, and quietly get ready for the New Year, there is the constant drumbeat inside of us which keeps drumming: "What's it all about?", "What's it all about?", "what's it all about?". Listen to this question repeating inside of you. It is a good question. Christmas gives us the answer in so many concrete examples. Love and be kind to everyone.

This last week of the year is the time to appreciate the value of love and kindness to all. This week is a chance to be strengthened in the most important principle of life: To love is To know God. For those who love, everything works together for the good.

It makes no difference what religion we are. It makes no difference if we believe in God or not. Those who love will discover God in some manner and will make the world a much better and safer place to be.

The fear of loving everyone is really a fear of living life to the fullest. This last week of the year we are all challenged to live life to the fullest. The answer is simple, listen and love. Listen to the love all around and start loving everyone around you at every moment. And include yourself in the loving.

Each moment of life is a moment to cherish and experience LOVE. Merry Christmas everyone and have a wonderful last week of the year, 2012. I love all of you.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.

Published: Thu, Dec 27, 2012