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Christopher Columbus, the “Christ-Bearer”

I may be a two-days late as to when Columbus actually set foot onto shore after sailing for approximately six weeks but at some point, our politicians and even the people did not care what we were celebrating but only that they got a three-day holiday.

So you see, some are trying to make the Columbus Day celebration into a political statement, saying that Columbus didn’t set foot here on the United States soil but rather, there was a group of indigenous people already here. Some say those people came from northwest Asia crossing over into Alaska and down but others say they were from Central or South America, coming up. Still others want to give the credit of the discovery of the Americas to northern Europeans much earlier than Columbus.

We are going to take a look at Christopher Columbus, the man himself but it really started before he was 10 years old, when he was just a boy. He lived in Genoa, Italy and loved the sea! He was down at the docks whenever he wasn’t helping his father in his business. At this young age, Columbus and his mother, father and siblings attended a mass and it was at that feast of the patron Saint Christopher that Christopher Columbus realized that his name meant “Christ-Bearer”. It was at this age of 10 that Columbus decided that he would be a bearer of the Gospel to the heathens of far away lands. He would fulfill his love of the sea and carry the message of Christ. That was his dream.

Christopher had read these words from Zechariah 9:10, “he shall speak peace unto the heathen; and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the end of the earth.” It was exactly what he knew God was calling him to do. From that point on, he prayed for God to allow him to share the Gospel to all people. In fact, years later, that is exactly why Queen Isabella encouraged her husband to provide the financial support for Columbus to sailing to the India by sailing west.

Christopher left home only a few years after his 10th birthday, never to return to Italy again. He lived for a number of years in Portugal where the king had promised to provide him with ships and provisions to find a new route to India but he was not honest and gave the ships and money to another. It is here that Christopher and his brother Bartholomew (a map maker) spent time and where Christopher met his first wife. They had a son but within a short time after, his wife died.

When Columbus realized that the king of Portugal was not going to provide him the means to sail, so Christopher took his son and moved to Spain to seek help for his dream. There, his son was cared for by the grace of God and Christopher set out to convince the King and Queen to fulfill his dream. This process took time, several years in fact but Christopher told everyone he met his dream.

While waiting to hear back from the King and Queen, he met his second wife. She gave him a second son. She supported Christopher’s dream and because of that, she would spend many years away from the husband that she loved.

It was worth the wait, all the prayers and missing his family for his brother Bartholomew still lived in Portugal. Finally, ten long years later, he was provided with two ships, the Pinta and the Nina. They were small and Christopher felt that he needed a third ship, a bit larger than the other two, its name was LaGallega but Christopher immediately renamed it to Santa Maria (Holy Mary) in honor of Jesus’s mother to honor God.

On August 3, 1492, Admiral Christopher Columbus set sail to take the Gospel to the heathen. Their first stop was the Canary Islands. Along the way, prayers could be heard often as Christopher led his men is praising the Lord in hymns. His intentions were to chart a route to China and India for their gold and spices. Instead, Columbus discovered a whole new land, the Bahamas and later many islands in what is now the West Indies.

He made three such trips to the “new world” struggling with men who rebelled, health issues and missing his family but he never regretted being a “Christ-Bearer”. And with that, you now have a little more of the story about the day that is celebrated here in the U.S. Christopher Columbus was a great, God-fearing man, a man full of adventure and courage.

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