I’m sitting here watching my Christmas Tree lights blink between clear and multicolor, and I’m having a multitude of thoughts- probably more than there are lights on the tree…

This is the time of year when we wish Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Tidings- you get it. We’re well-wishing the heck out of everything and everyone!  It’s been quite a year, and I think that the concepts of love and joy, and how we’re able to achieve them, are especially important for all of us nowadays.

Life is full of crazy stuff, am I right?!  In the span of a lifetime, we will all experience love, loss, anger, betrayal, excitement, heartbreak, devastation, joy, and everything else you can think of.  Personally, I’ve kind of experienced all of this just this year, as I’m sure many of you have, too.  But how we process these feelings is what determines how we go forward from them.  Do we stay angry forever?  Does our joy mellow to the point of vanilla after a while?  Do we move forward after a loss, or stay in that dark place too long?

On our individual journeys, we come across many different people who affect us is ways that change our way of thinking, especially as we go through all of the above things.  Some changes are good, some, not so good. 

For instance, there are some people who make it their own life’s mission to make others look bad, or wrong, so that they, themselves look like the hero.  No matter what you do (or don’t do), this person will seemingly go out of their way to one-up you, or say something to (hopefully) make others see you in a bad light.  We’ve all been there- we all know at least one of those people.  What do you do about this?  Live your truth.  It’s totally okay to feel hurt by these actions, but don’t let it detract from the life you’re trying to make for yourself.  You know in your heart what your truth is, and that’s all that matters.  There’s a quote I love about this:

There are others that come into our lives and change us for good, and those people are blessings.  These people can be family, friends, strangers- but they are all meant to cross paths with us, because they teach us to grow through encouragement and acceptance.  Some of us have our “tribe” or group of friends that just get us- these are the people who accept us, and we, them.  When times are tough, we have certain people, be it your parents, your BFF, your husband, teacher, director, whatever, who are there to make you want to be better, do better, and to get through whatever you need to get through.  Those are the people put in our lives to help us move further along on our journey, to push us along with a kind word or deed and to encourage our growth- to see something wonderful, where others see nothing.

Finally, there are those that are put in our lives to teach us love.  Not just love of something or someone, but just LOVE.  For those of you with a child or children:  Think of the first time you looked at your newborn.  For me, that moment was one of awe, because I was flooded with love that seemed to overflow from my being.  That little baby wasn’t just my daughter- she was pure love in human form.  There was a nun at the Carmelite Monastery I was going to enter (yes, I just talked about my daughter and entering a monastery in direct succession, deal with it), Sr. Mary Monica.  She was elderly, very frail and suffering from dementia.  Every time she walked into the chapel for prayer time or for Mass, she stopped at the entrance and said softly, like a secret message, “Jesus, I love you.”  Each time I witnessed that, I was flooded with love, because she was filled with so much love that it was pouring out to everyone around her.  It was amazing, and I’ll never forget her face and her complete act of love in those moments.  Lastly, I think of my maternal grandmother.  She passed from breast cancer in my final semester of college.  Before I went back for that last semester, she knew that she was going to die, and I pleaded with her to let me stay home, and just finish that last semester in the Fall.  She just looked at me straight in the face and said, “No, you have to go and finish your degree.”  That, I know, was her final act of love to me.  The love of letting go, because you’ve taught what you were put here for, and now it was time to let others fly and take your love through their own lives.

So- bringing it back to our journeys, and tying it in with this season-would you say that these three types of people we come across are kind of like the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future?  It seems like that to me.  And just like in A Christmas Carol, there are lessons to be learned from all from these meetings. And let’s not forget- you and I ARE these people to other people along their life’s journey, so choose how you want to be to others…

I wish you all peace, love, safety and health.

Jennifer Angarano Ricci is a wife, mother & creative soul-searcher.  She is a musician, artist, and baker, and runs her home business Baked By Jen, in addition to running her local community theater group.  She loves to sing, create and help others and tries to connect all three passions whenever possible.

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