Kiss me I am Irish…
Well actually I cannot make that claim. While I married a man with Irish origins, I myself have no Irish blood running through my veins. I have participated in several St. Patrick’s festivities during my lifetime, however it is not a holiday or celebration I really paid much attention to. I will even admit that there have been many years in which I did not even realize it was St. Patrick’s Day until a day or two passed, then logging onto my social media account I would see all the pictures people posted from the parties they attended. In my mind St. Patrick’s Day was about myths of leprechaun’s chasing after gold and drinking. Truth is St. Patrick’s Day originally had nothing to do with either of those things. Just as it had nothing to do with the color green or eating corned beef and cabbage.
As I was researching this holiday (this time around), I came across all kinds of interesting articles. I liked this one the best by Megan Maisano friedmansprout.com/2018/03/01/8936/ From Blue to Green, and Everything in Between: The Evolution of Saint Patrick’s Day
It’s an easy read, well researched and even has pictures. But she ends her article with “Conclusion: Who Cares?” I believe we should care…I believe we should research and study history. We cannot assume that everything we are taught is truth.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
Maewyn Succat (St. Patrick) has a really neat testimony. Born sometime around 375-390 A.D. into a wealthy (Scottish, English, Roman family) depending on what you read; he is not even Irish. Captured by pirates as a young man and taken to Ireland where he spent years as a slave learning the language and culture. He eventually escaped and returned home where he went on to become a priest. Then years later he returned to Ireland bringing with him the message of the gospel.
While he was not the first man to share the gospel with the people of Ireland at that time (another popular myth), he was undoubtedly the most successful in his lifetime. Why is this truth not taught? Why was I in my twenties when I first learned the true story behind the pots of gold, shamrocks and green?
Even deeper is that while the story of St. Patrick is an interesting one…why do we even have the holiday? St. Patrick’s Day is NOT a holiday that the Bible commands us to celebrate. Just like Valentines’ and many other holidays we celebrate it is NOT God ordained, man created it in the 17th century. While I believe the story of Maewyn Succat and his life is a great read, another inspiring example of what God can accomplish through willing servants, it is also sad how the story has been bastardized.
Take for example the shamrock…stories tell us that St. Patrick used it as a symbol of the trinity. And while I think that is a creative and neat way to explain the trinity of God, (if in fact he really did that), the shamrock was used by the pagans long before St. Patrick came along. It was the symbol of their triple goddess; Eriu, Brigid and Morrigan.
Beside the additions man has added to the story, the devil then gave man somewhere along the line the idea of adding leprechaun’s to the holiday. Leprechauns were thought to be evil spirits or demons by the pagans. Now our enemy has us thinking of them as cute cartoon characters…chasing after gold and rainbows. In March we see businesses, schools and sometimes our homes decorated with cut outs of ‘cute’ leprechauns. Some people even dress themselves, their children, even their dogs up as Leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day. Think about that for a moment…people are dressing up as demons, and most don’t even realize it! Decorating with Shamrocks too, another pagan symbol.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.” Hosea 4:6 ESV
Just like this Bible verse says…people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. We have the responsibility as believers to look into the things we are told, taught, see…to study the Bible, to pray, to make sure we are following God in everything we do! We are not to follow blindly after the ways of the world.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8 KJV
Now let’s consider the drinking that goes along with this holiday…a newer addition in the 1800’s. And while I know not everyone drinks on this holiday, or does so in excess, it does happen, and along with all the other pomp and circumstance, drinking is now an acceptable thing to do on St. Patrick’s Day. I am NOT against drinking…we may drink…even alcohol. As Christian’s though we are told not to get drunk.
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,” Ephesians 5:18 NLT
After seeing that this holiday is not a true holy day, that it is tied to pagan roots, why would we as Christians choose to celebrate? Why would we choose to expose our children to these pagan rituals? Many won’t agree with me…they will say ‘it’s harmless,’ or even accuse me of being harsh or old-fashioned. Maybe I am…I am choosing to draw a line, to take a stand and say for me and my house we will serve the LORD!
“…then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 NIV
I am all about learning about the man (St. Patrick) and his life, as I said earlier he has an amazing testimony…something which should be shared. What I am NOT willing to do is celebrate a man-made holiday that incorporates pagan symbols and traditions. I will NOT bring them into my house. I am Not willing to serve the gods of my ancestors. Especially when God himself gave us holy days to celebrate. Yes, as we are under grace and not law we are not required to celebrate the holidays in which God gave to the Israelites. However if I am going to celebrate a holiday I would much rather choose to celebrate those that God himself ordained…holy days that honor him, that point to his son Jesus and the redemption we have in him.
I am NOT willing to compromise my faith! Following Jesus is not always the easiest path.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26 ESV
I know that what I have written here is not going to be a popular…but I don’t care. This is not a popularity contest… (John 15:18-27)
Someday I will stand before God. Someday YOU will stand before God. On that day we will give account for what we did with this life he has given us. And while I am far from perfect, (I am a work in progress) and though I am covered by the blood of Jesus, I still want to do my best to live in a way in which points others to Christ. If I look like the world, think like the world, act like the world then how will the world know I am different? How will they know I am a child of the most high God?
And one more thought…what would St. Patrick himself think? If he knew that millions of people all over the world were celebrating him, would he agree? Do you really think that a man who spent his life pointing others to God would want men celebrating a man-made holiday with its roots in paganism honoring and glorifying him? Or perhaps would his heart be saddened to see all the pomp and circumstance that occurs during St. Patrick’s Day? After all this life is NOT about us…it’s about Jesus! If we are going to lift anyone up, why not Christ?