Thanks to the Franciscans in Oakland and Berkeley, California, I was captivated by Saint Francis of Assisi’s life, inspired to follow in his steps and intrigued by relevant historical events surrounding his life. Saint Francis was born during the medieval period also known as the Dark Ages, dark as my scarce knowledge of this particular segment in history. For years, I procrastinated in studying the Dark Ages, reinforced by my strong interest to learn much more about the Renaissance, which is heavily punctuated by great painters, sculptures and architects, some of whom were supported by the Medici family. Renaissance means reborn, naissance is a French word for born, and it is a word that touches my heart in a singular way, especially during Christmas time.

nativityJesus’ naissance was, is and shall be forever. For us, it is renaissance by God’s love, from the darkness of our soul to the light of His grace. The light brought by the baby Jesus in Bethlehem dethroned the darkness. This is a very special grace to be reborn in Jesus, to grow in faith; loving each other especially the forgotten anawin [those in need] near to us.

Renaissance should be more meaningful helping the anawin, the same ones that St. Francis encountered in the Commune of Assisi eight hundred years ago. Today in any given place around the world we must allow baby Jesus to be born in our hearts, to accompanying us along our journey to heaven that is paved by sharpen pebbles and thorns, serving and loving the needy with all our strength, with all our heart, and with all our mind and soul. (Mt. 22:36-40).

Hispanics are called to preserve our nationalism, our culture, our traditions and our faith by proclaiming that Jesus is born for us. Flourishing in this country using all the talents that are individually entrusted by God and embracing with love our new American family, like a seamless piece of fine cloth, akin to Christ’s Holy Robe (Jn. 19, 23-24).

Christmas is the precious gift long announced and awaited during the Old Testament. Christ is the New Testament and we are a central part of it. Christmas-Renaissance is the grace to be better, like a priceless masterpiece in a museum.

2014 © Dr. Gabriel Martinez.  All Rights Reserved.

Featured image by Waiting For The Word and nativity by jeffweese.