This world is full of love. Love so strong that it transcends beyond the physical barriers of life. It extends into the heavens, connecting us to all those who have gone before us. It wavers into the streets, providing guidance in the form of angels. It seeds itself in youth, lengthening hope to the future. A special kind of love is a fairytale to some, a mystery to others, or maybe a reality. This special love is everlasting, assembling itself in tradition, because tradition has the potential to be eternal, passed down generation to generation, never ceasing, never faulting.
At the heart of every family tradition is a meaningful experience. My family has many, but one is particularly special. During family meals, mainly for holidays, an extra place setting is left open, utensils and all, for an Unexpected Guest. Whether that guest is a family member in route, or a friend, they are always welcome to join us for a meal. This tradition is malleable, as it also implies that this Unexpected Guest can take many forms. Humans from our lives, angels of our relatives, or positive spirits whom we have never met are all allowed and welcomed in our home.
Thanksgiving Day was filled with happiness and thankfulness as we celebrated the occasion with family. Prayers were made, bread was broken, and food was consumed. Our Unexpected Guest seat open, free, the plate glimmering as light from a nearby window shown across it. The seat, unknown to us, was occupied. It was occupied by God’s newest angel. At the time of our meal, the news had not yet been delivered, but we had lost a very dear family member. Unknown in cause, unanticipated in nature, and shocking to the entire family, our Unexpected Guest seat suddenly appeared especially appropriate.
While the energy over the past week had been overwhelming and tragic, there was still positivity. Positivity in our Unexpected Guests. They walk among us, free from worry, free from pain. They sit beside us, they help carry our burdens, and they create magic. My Unexpected Guest generated magic in the form of her creativity, her art. She helped me write today. She gave me words that I never could produce. She gave me descriptions that only a picture could describe.
She is here. My Unexpected Guest is here.
Liturgically, Sunday was the start of the New Year. New beginnings and the start of Advent also present a start to the holiday season. This time of the year can be joyous, but it can also be hard. Remember your Unexpected Guests, because not all who wander this world are lost. They want to be found, discovered, and connected.
Just because it is not visible, does not mean it doesn’t exist. Let your eyes see further than you can imagine, because sometimes, happiness occurs at different frequencies, different wavelengths, an entirely different spectrum. Leave room for them, look for them, you will see that you are only as blind as you want to be. Go, look, your Unexpected Guest is waiting.