“Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”

~ Leo Buscaglia

We have arrived at that gift-giving and receiving time of year – ushered in with spectacular fanfare by the incredible blast of the commercial horn called “Black Friday”. As we take deep breaths, and summon our courage, we set out to seek the elusive mall parking space, run the gauntlet of throngs of shoppers and search futilely for a harried salesperson to assist us. Or, we can go forth into cyberspace and explore strange new markets, seek out new products and exotic bargains; to boldly go where no consumer has gone before.

All too often, we lose sight of the real, underlying meaning of this Christmas season. (I refuse to use the politically correct “Holiday” season. The holidays exist to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – and if non-Christians have a problem with that… too bad! Stay home! Stay out of the malls! Okay, I finished my rant – lol!)

As I was saying, the message of this season is about giving. God so loved the world that he gave us his only-begotten son. It was a genuine act of love. Today, I am moved to use the words of Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998), the American author and motivational speaker, to clarify a definition of love that I find profound.

Buscaglia talks about love as a gift – freely given. Love can never be coerced or expected in kind. If it is either of these things, we reduce it to an exchange – a trade if you will. If you love me, I’ll love you. It reminds me of the anguish felt by a person who receives a Christmas card in the mail, realizing that they did not send the other person a card. Or the person who decides not to send Sally a card because Sally didn’t send her a card last year.

Thinking carefully about these words, I begin to examine my conscience in this regard. Do I give a gift to someone I love without expectation? Here’s a tougher question. Do I give the gift of my love without strings, or is it conditional? As Buscaglia suggests, am I loving only to get love?

It is no secret that every human being needs to be loved. This quest for love goes way beyond any want or desire – all the way to need. As I mull this concept over, a voice in my head reminds me of what the nuns at my school often said. They taught us that anything we give to others is returned to us ten-fold. I remember thinking at the time that this was gratifying, but I doubted it was true – or I’d have to wait until I died and went to heaven to cash in.

Life experience has taught me that the nuns were correct. When we do what Buscaglia encourages us to do, to love for the sake of loving, then we find love showered upon us in ways we never dreamed possible. I believe this happens because the act of loving in this way, bares our souls for all to see. The beauty that we behold takes our breath away. We become like a magnet and draw people to ourselves – and they are helpless. They love because of the innate goodness of our souls.

That sounds pretty simple. It is simple! It is not easy. Make no mistake; we will work toward this model for our entire lives. This magical Christmas season gives us the opportunity to practice this art of love. So let’s stop complaining and embrace the opportunity to love more perfectly!

About John Fioravanti

Author, John Fioravanti writes non-fiction as well as fiction in the sci-fi genre. He's a retired secondary school educator and a lifelong learner. He considers himself a work in progress and welcomes the opinions and insights that others may have about his work. He prizes dialogue about meaningful topics, so please leave your thoughts!

29 thoughts on “IF YOU LOVE ME… #RRBC

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    Jim & Betty Ann Martin

    December 17, 2016 at 3:00pm

    Beautiful reminder John that love is the only word without an opposite for it is everything! Like the universal energy of the breath you cannot take more than you need and must give back all that you receive! Have a Happy Christmas Season! God Bless Us Everyone!!

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      John Fioravanti

      December 17, 2016 at 5:05pm

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Betty. I wish you a and Jim a blessed Christmas as well!

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    December 15, 2016 at 7:11am

    How true, John. To love is the most precious gift that anyone can give. Our Lord gave his life out of love for us. It always amazing to me that the more I love the more loving I receive. It never stops.
    A wonderful, inspiring, and encouraging post on the value of loving.
    Happy Fourth Advent.
    Shalom aleichem,

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      John Fioravanti

      December 15, 2016 at 8:04am

      Thanks for your kind words, Pat. I wish you and yours peace and happiness during this season and throughout the new year!

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    December 14, 2016 at 10:00pm

    First of all John, I too agree with you that those who do not like the word, Christmas, should deal with it, and stay home, period! We cannot be celebrating a christian holiday, and allow not christians to dictate how we do it, or how we name it.

    That said, I do believe that love should be reciprocal, maybe, not always from the one loved, but as your nuns said, when you love, it is returned a hundred fold. For this mysterious reason, we should go ahead and love anyway. The gift you give from the heart, is never waisted, it is always gifted back, someway, somehow, and so is love.

    I know people who have unrequited love, who continued to love, all the same. In the end, the one who gave, received more in return, and the one who did not, lost more in the end. It is like the Bible stated, the one who has, because they gave more, more was given to them, and the one who has less, because they gave less, even the one they have will be taken from them and given to the one who already has more. :D. Who says God has no sense of humor?! :).

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 10:51pm

      Thanks, Joy, I appreciate you stopping by to share your thoughts. Of course, I cannot disagree. Love is about the giving, not the taking.

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    Bette A. Stevens

    December 14, 2016 at 4:25pm

    Wonderful post, John! Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and God’s richest blessings in the New Year ahead. Sharing the Good News… <3

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      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 4:44pm

      Thanks, Bette, and I hope you have a fabulous Christmas filled with joyous blessings and a wonderful new year!

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    December 14, 2016 at 3:54pm

    Thank you for sharing these warming and loving thoughts, John. I long ago discovered that by filling my heart with love there was no room left for anything else, no bitterness, no wish for vengeance, no hate. It was and remains the most soul freeing thing I have ever done. Wishing you and your loved ones the simple joy of the Christmas celebrations.

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      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 4:42pm

      Thanks, Soooz, I think you have adopted the perfect recipe! I wish you and yours all the joys of Christmas!

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    John W. Howell

    December 14, 2016 at 2:22pm

    Great message, John. I think this is a season of love and we should all practice as much as we can. Who knows it may become a habit.

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    rick watkajtys

    December 14, 2016 at 1:47pm

    Brother John; So the Nuns & the Beatles were both right after all……..All You Need Is Love! With that being said it is without condition that I consider you, Anne & The Most Blessed Francis true friends and you are all loved in my heart. Wishing you, Anne & your family a Merry Christmas & a Healthy and Happy 2017. Just so you know I felt no anguish upon receiving your Christmas card & family newsletter because I stopped sending cards years ago. Would rather pick up the phone or send a response such as this as an alternative. Lastly; your friend Jan left out Kwanzaa as a Christmas celebration not that there is anything wrong with that. Peace to men & woman of good will & to those as well who may not extend that good will. Brother Richard

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 2:01pm

      Thanks very much for chiming in, Brother Richard! I’m glad you stopped by to leave your thoughts and your Christmas wish. Anne and i hope that you and Donna and family have a beautiful Christmas as well!

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    Natalie Ducey

    December 14, 2016 at 10:52am

    John, this is one of my favourite posts of yours. Such a beautiful, timely, and powerful message. Thanks very much for sharing. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas! 🙂

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      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 11:08am

      Thank you very much, Natalie! I appreciate your kind words. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

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    Mae Clair

    December 14, 2016 at 10:01am

    A beautiful message, John, for and so appropriate for this time of year. Wishing you the blessings of Christmas. There is something extra special this time of year that resonates with most.How wonderful it would be if we could carry that selfless love throughout the year.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 10:50am

      Thanks for stopping by with this Christmas message, Mae! I hope you and your family enjoy the best Christmas ever!

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    December 14, 2016 at 8:25am

    Beautiful and thought provoking
    Loving brings happiness whether it is received it given .
    Love you

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    Jan Hawke

    December 14, 2016 at 7:30am

    I think we do all struggle with unconditional love to some extent. There’s a dichotomy over self-love in these modern times – in the past if you loved yourself ‘above others’ it was seen as selfish, but now we also acknowledge that the opposite, self-hatred, is also damaging. It sabotages our capacity to love others. Our concept of love as an ideal however, is obviously one that everyone should strive for.
    The only thing I would argue in favour of the political correctness of calling it Holidays rather than Christmas, simply because it is supposedly about Christian values, is that ‘the season’, being in December and in winter for the northern hemisphere also covers traditional Fire Festivals such as Yule/Saturnalia European pagan), Diwali (Hindu) and of course Hanukah (Jewish). And Jesus is also regarded as a prophet for Islam, second only to Mohammed… Whatever the truth of the matter as to when Jesus was truly born, having the feast day in December, when the sun is low in the sky and days are shortest, means that coming together for firelit warmth and shared hospitality is all in the ‘spirit’ of the season – and long may that continue! 😀

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      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 7:56am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts today, Jan. What you say about the other faiths and traditions is very true and valid, and I have no trouble with the reference to this season as “the holidays”. My issue is the fact that political correctness in our country (Canada) also means that greetings and wishes that include the words “Merry Christmas” be tossed out in favour of “Happy Holidays”. I have embraced multiculturalism here and I’m in favour of inclusiveness, but why must I emasculate the naming of the season for the sake of multiculturalism? Are we going to send a message to Israel and the Muslim countries to become politically correct and drop their holy nomenclature? Silly, huh!

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        Jan Hawke

        December 14, 2016 at 12:45pm

        Agreed that side of PC-ness is indeed idiotic, John. It’s like that in the UK as well.
        This week there was a veteran nurse of come 30 years good-standing who was ‘let go’ after some of her patients had complained of being ‘preached at’ when she consoled them when they were upset and promised they were in her prayers when they went for surgery or critical tests.
        Some local governments are starting to talk about banning people in schools and other public services from weating crucifixes, rosaries and even St. Christopher pendants or rings, as well the veil for Muslims and even turbans… So silly! 🙁

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    Gwen Plano

    December 14, 2016 at 6:53am

    The act of loving, bares our souls — I so agree, John. And, there is something magnetic about being around someone/others who love so purely. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder.

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      John Fioravanti

      December 14, 2016 at 7:47am

      Thanks, Gwen, would that we all could love more perfectly more often. Perhaps then, the fear and hate mongers would find little traction for their poisonous rants and actions. Because we are capable, I choose to live in hope.

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    December 14, 2016 at 2:36am

    Thanks for the reminder that we should all focus more on loving better and more completely. 🙂

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