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Advent Reflection – Eleventh Day of Advent

December 7th, 2016 by Monika Guzman-Estrada

People, Look East

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Monika Guzman-Estrada

The first line of the chorus “Love, the guest, is on the way…” reminds me of my own personal story of migrating to the United States. Just as Mary and Joseph looked East for a place to call their own to welcome their son, thirty years ago my mother looked North, East and West in search for a new place to call home. My mother, as many of the mothers of El Nido have done, left the comfort of her home country to seek a better tomorrow for herself and for me. She came to the United States with hope for prosperity, hope for opportunities and hope for a new tomorrow. She hoped that her child would be welcomed, embraced and allowed to dream. She hoped to give her child a chance to have a better future, access to quality education, and for her to someday find joy in her chosen profession.

As a clinical social worker, I’ve heard heart-breaking stories of other immigrant parents who share similar hopes for their children; I’ve heard stories about the long and perilous journey others make in search of a better life; and I’ve seen the heartache, loss, longing and ambivalence in my client’s eyes in adapting to their new home country that doesn’t always make room for them. But as we prepare our homes and hearts for Advent, let us make room for love, tolerance, and understanding. Let us make room for the unknown and sit in conversation with the Lord. Let us plant the seeds of love and hope so that others may flourish with God’s goodness and grace. Let us tend the fields so that the fields may be a place of refuge for our brothers and sisters.

The time has come to be a living example of God’s love, a beacon of hope, a fortress of peace and a shield of social justice.

Prayer: Lord, let me be loved by you, so that I can be love to others Lord, shape my heart, body and soul to be a vessel of hope. Lord, help me love those who may not love themselves and who despise those who walk in love. Amen.



Monika Guzman-Estrada

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