Even Hello Kitty is "going green" for Saint Patrick's Day! Photo by Melissa Parrett.
Are you wearing green today? If not, you might get pinched! That and many other traditions are in full swing today as we all celebrate Saint Patrick's day. However, do any of us really know the reasons behind this holiday? As so often is the case, sometimes the true meaning behind days like these get forgotten and lost in the shuffle.
The truth is, there is a very good reason why we should be celebrating this day. It has very little to do with leprechauns, the "kiss me, I'm Irish" buttons, green beer, shamrock shakes, and blarney stones. Not that these things are bad; after all, they can be a good source of fun, fellowship, and meaning. However, we need to remember what those "meanings" are. Otherwise, we will lose another great holiday to the commercial machine, and it will mean nothing more than "St. Patty's Day" or "Shamrock Day" (has anyone else noticed that variation?).
The man for which this holiday was named was actually born Maewyn Succat. When he was young, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. Even though the society was pagan, Maewyn's Christian faith grew stronger and stronger and was a great comfort to him while he was in captivity. For six years, he labored as a slave until he felt like God was telling him his time was over and he escaped back home to England.
Considering that his faith was so great, one can understand why he naturally had a burden on his heart to share the gospel. In fact, the people of Ireland were never far from his mind. One night, he even had a dream that they were calling him back.
After becoming a bishop in England (and changing his name to Patrick) his passion for the Irish people led him to return to Ireland. He preached the gospel to the pagans and was successful in converting many. He knew how to meet them where they were and even used elements of their culture to draw them to God. That is where the shamrock comes in! He used it to illustrate the trinity; the three leaves representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The shamrock is made up of three leaves, but it is only one shamrock (one God, three persons).
March 17th is the day that we remember Saint Patrick because this is the day that he went to his true home with the Lord. We should all take a moment to remember him as a man who loved God and loved others. One doesn't have to be Irish to appreciate (or celebrate) the fact that so many souls were saved. One person can definitely make a difference! Saint Patrick is a prime example of love and compassion in action, and he should inspire us all to do likewise!
As we proudly wear the color of Ireland today, may we all remember to share Saint Patrick's passion for others. He lived among 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! How can you not want to celebrate that?!
Feel free to spread the love and joy with kisses today (whether you are Irish or not!). Greet your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with a holy kiss (2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Peter 5:14)! Also, remember to think of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the next time you see a shamrock! Hopefully, 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!!
For more information: Read more about Saint Patrick, and the miracles that God performed through him, by checking out this link. Also, please watch this informative and entertaining Saint Patrick's Day cartoon (brought to you by the folks at Veggie Tales). Happy Saint Patrick's Day! God bless you!