Kiss me, I’m Irish! You’ve seen the T-shirts, heard advertisements for pubs serving green beer, and spotted shamrocks on everything from napkins to neckties. But unless you’re Irish, you may not think St. Paddy’s day has anything to do with you. What if I told you that St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland and the centerpiece of St. Patrick's Day celebrations everywhere, was not even Irish? It’s true! St. Patrick was born in Scotland to Roman parents. Around age 14 Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. During his captivity he turned to prayer, and it was God who revealed to him a way of escape. At 20 years old he escaped and was reunited with his family. That alone would be a story in itself, but that is not the end of Patrick’s journey.
In 433 Patrick was ordained as a Bishop, and chose to return to carry the Gospel to Ireland. He spent about 40 years preaching and ministering in Ireland, the very country that had robbed him of so many years with his family. He is said to have used the shamrock that blanketed the country as a simple tool to explain the Holy Trinity.
St. Patrick’s Day offers a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about forgiveness. He could have been bitter and angry, but Patrick chose instead to share the love of God with the people of Ireland. Need some ideas on how to get the message across to your kids? Here are just a few ways to celebrate in a meaningful way:
· Wear green, and remember that green represents life eternal
· Share shamrock cookies, stickers, or plants. Use them to talk about the Trinity
· Ask God who you may need to forgive today
This year celebrate, because you’re just as Irish as St. Patrick!
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