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Advent Reflection – December 20th

December 20th, 2017 by Monika Guzman-Estrada

December 20th

Mónika Estrada Guzmán

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.

– Mother Teresa of Calcutta

My abuelito’s childhood was filled with loss and longing for both of his parents. Each of his parents died at pivotal stages of his life.  God’s love filled that void for him. It was his Christian duty to share the same love to others. He did so by sharing the gospel with his family, sharing a Bible verse to encourage us in a time of need, and through his prayers. As his grandchildren, we knew his prayers carried our dreams and hopes.

My Abuelito Miguel didn’t think twice about helping others. He reached deep into his pockets to give his spare change. He would buy someone a cup of coffee or meal, send his monthly offering to his favorite Christian charities, and send boxes filled with clothes, candies and goods to Guatemala for those in need for Christmas. He never missed an election. It was his civic duty as a U.S. citizen to vote for those without a voice, and it’s one that his children and grandchildren uphold with pride.

Abuelito Miguel taught his children and grandchildren to love God above all things and love your neighbor.  He would tell us to let God’s love shine through your actions and your chosen profession, and to advocate against injustice. This explains perhaps why I chose social work. I hold his advice near and dear in my heart, and it is the bedrock of my work in Washington Heights. I feel him smiling from heaven and know that he is proud.

This will be our first Christmas without him. This Christmas will be tough for our family. Christmas was his favorite time of year. It was a reminder of God’s gift of love to us, His son. We hope to honor his memory, in serving others and letting God’s love shine through us.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that your love shines through me and that my actions reflect your love. May I serve others with love today and throughout the year.

Dedicated to my Abuelito Miguel Angel Guzmán, 1929-2017.
May he be in God’s glory.

Monika Guzman-Estrada

Monika Estrada Guzman is the Program Director of El Nido, Christ Church's faith-based outreach program in Washington Heights, NYC.