Each day we carry things. We carry things in our hands. We carry backpacks, laptops, sports equipment. We carry purses, wallets, keys. We carry groceries and laundry.
We also carry things in our hearts. We carry thoughts, worries, dreams, hopes. Sometimes we don’t realize all the things we carry into a room. We carry anger or frustration. We carry excitement. We carry joy.
What are you carrying today?
This year, my friend Kristina caused me to consider what I carry in my hands and what I carry in my heart. Kristina was a member of my church and the mother of four girls. Since I am the father of three daughters myself, Kristina and I had a lot in common. During the birth of her fifth daughter, Kristina suffered complications that led to her death.
Her family, her church, and her community were crushed. We carried great grief because of our loss. We carried confusion and pain.
Kristina’s husband, Jeremy, reminded us of all that Kristina carried in her life. With care and devotion, she carried Jeremy through stressful times in his life. As a nurse, she carried many families through fearful times in the hospital. She carried her daughters literally and figuratively as she raised them, taught them, and loved them. With her faithful presence, she carried her friends through good times and bad.
Kristina was a Christian. She lived for Jesus, and she showed Jesus to many people through the things she carried in her hands and in her heart.
As I searched for words to say to the people who would gather to celebrate and remember Kristina’s life, I ran across the meaning of Kristina’s name. Kristina means “bearer of Christ” or, more literally, “one who carries Christ with her.” Kristina had carried Christ in her home, in her school, in her church, in her workplace, in her community. Everywhere she went she carried Christ. She was a bearer of Christ. What she carried in her hands led others to see Christ in her. What she carried in her heart led others to experience Christ through her. She changed the world by simply carrying Christ into each and every situation.
Christians are bearers of Christ. We carry Jesus with us wherever we go. We see our hands not only as tools to do the next task but also as the vessels God uses to carry love, mercy, and grace into the world. We give our hearts to Jesus, and we live differently because Christ dwells in us.
Christians are not exempt from hard times and tragedy. Kristina and Jeremy taught me this. They also taught me that I will not be called to go anywhere that God will not be with me. Being a Christ-bearer means that no matter where you walk and what you walk through, Jesus goes before you, around you, and behind you.
What is a Christian? One who carries Christ.
If you are a Christian, your hands will be used to carry Jesus into people’s lives in real and tangible ways. How does God want to use your hands?
If you are a Christian, your heart is marked by Christ and his Spirit is in you. Jesus is with you no matter what situation you encounter. And you will change the places you go because Jesus is in you.
—from devozine (January/February 2014). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.