As always, we sometimes lose sight of WHAT we are celebrating. I am going to guess that most people don’t have any idea who St. Patrick is or why we have a holiday in honor of him. It is yet another “holiday” that we celebrate every year and commercialize to no end!! We wear green, the “kiss me, I’m Irish” buttons, drink green “shamrock shakes” (or for some, green beer), and joke about leprechauns. I don’t think these things are necessarily bad. In fact, it can be a great source of fun, fellowship, and meaning. Though, it‘s those “meanings“ behind these things that have long since been forgotten. Even the holiday itself is nearly being renamed. I’ve even seen cards and party supplies that say “Happy Shamrock Day” on them!
So, why is St. Patrick’s day a big deal? Well, in short, Maewyn Succat (St. Patrick’s original name) was a boy kidnapped from his home and taken to Ireland where the society was pagan. His faith comforted him, and grew over the six years that he was a slave. Then, one day, he felt God telling him that his time was done and he escaped home to England. However, he never forgot the people of Ireland. In fact, he had a dream that they were calling him back. Eventually, he did return, and he preached the gospel to the pagans. He even used a Shamrock to illustrate the trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (one God, three persons).
St. Patrick’s day is a day to wear green in honor of Ireland. Moreover, it‘s to remind us of the kind of love and compassion St. Patrick had for the people there. St. Patrick is a prime example of love in action. He lived amongst the lost and broken people who had no hope or truth in their lives and even CAME BACK for them; just as Christ is coming back for us!! He CARED about whether or not they would spend eternity in heaven or hell. He told them the good news about Jesus and many heard and believed! Now THAT truly is something to celebrate!!
What I have shared is but a fraction of the details of St. Patrick’s life. Feel free to google for more information! Additionally, you might want to watch this funny and inspiring video on YouTube. It’s a Veggie Tales story about St. Patrick (and how I first learned the history behind St. Patrick’s Day). Oh, and just for fun, I took some pictures today if you want to see: share.shutterfly.com/action/
So, go ahead! WEAR GREEN! May it indeed honor and symbolize new life and the kind of passionate pursuit we should have for evangelizing to others! And feel free to spread the love and joy with kisses (whether you are Irish or not!). After all, whatever happened to greeting fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with a holy kiss (2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Peter 5:14). Also, I hope you will think of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the next time you see a shamrock! I hope it will be a reminder to reach out to the lost and show them in whatever way possible that Jesus loves them and died for them! May we all live our lives as a living example of Christ’s passionate pursuit for our hearts!! Grace and peace to all of you!! Have a wonderful day of reflection, fellowship, and joy!!