Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I must admit that I did not know a lot about this particular holiday. I recall that it had some religious meaning to it, and I believed that Saint Patrick was an Irishman, and it’s a great day to wear green! So to satisfy my own curiosity, and to perhaps enlighten some of you as well, I wanted to find out more about this day that has been somewhat of a mystery to me. After doing a little research, here are some basic facts:

(1) St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday that commemorates Saint Patrick (387-461 AD), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland, and it celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general, and it is characterized by attending church services.

(2) Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain into a wealthy family, and both his father and grandfather were deacons in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive as a slave to Ireland. He claimed that he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity and return to Britain. Upon his return, he quickly joined with a church and studied to be a priest. He later returned to Ireland as a bishop to bring Christianity to the Irish people, and according to Irish folklore, one of his teaching methods included using a three-leaved plant, the shamrock, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. Saint Patrick labored nearly thirty years as an evangelist before his death, and he has been recognized as the principal champion of Irish Christianity.

(3) The day is also characterized by wearing green apparel. Interestingly, the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue, yet by the 19th century, green became the primary color. Also, green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of this day as early as the 17th century.

I now have a new appreciation of this special day, knowing that God used Saint Patrick to introduce the Irish people to the Lord Jesus Christ. We too can be like this patron saint and be witnesses for the Lord; by the power of the Holy Spirit we can tell others about how they can have new life and purpose through a relationship with Christ.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

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