Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I really like this holiday. There’s no pressure to buy anything. Everyone just wears green and celebrates our supposedly, Irish roots, while looking for leprechauns. But, St. Patrick’s Day has an interesting past which is actually God centered.
It’s all a little cloudy because it happened so long ago, somewhere between 400-600 A.D. Legend has it that Patrick was born to wealthy parents in England and was captured at some point in his mid teens by Irish raiders. He was taken to Ireland and sent off to be a slave tending sheep. (Isn’t it interesting that sheep were involved?)
He was very afraid and lonely and began praying all of the time. (Can you relate?)
After six years in captivity, God told him in a dream, it was time to go home and so he began walking. He walked nearly 200 miles before he was saved by friendly sailors. (Can you imagine walking 200 miles and not getting discouraged or giving up?)
While he was in Ireland, he learned their customs and language. It is said that some time after he returned home, an angel told him in a dream, to return to Ireland as a missionary and preach the Gospel to them. (I can’t imagine the wrestling that must have ensued.)
After studying for 15 years, Patrick obeyed God and returned to Ireland. The Irish were mostly pagan and Druid, but there were some Christians there. Since he knew their customs, he knew that the shamrock was a sacred plant to them. He used the three-leaf clover to explain the trinity to them.
He knew that they used fire to honor their gods so he used bonfires to celebrate Easter. He also used the sun which was a powerful Irish symbol, and superimposed it on the cross to create the Celtic cross.
Patrick would have never been able to communicate with the Irish in such an effective and powerful way if he hadn’t endured the six years in captivity there. (When times are the toughest, it’s hard to see God is building something amazing, but He often is.)
At the end of his life, Patrick had helped to start over 300 churches and baptized over 120,000 Irish people. He preached in Ireland for over forty years and died on March 17th.
He is credited with at least thirty-three miracles including many counts of healing as well as several resurrection stories. He is not credited for driving snakes out of Ireland. There never were any there, but he is credited in turning almost an entire nation to Christ.
Looks like he did actually drive a snake out.
Patrick’s story inspires me. Perhaps you needed some inspiration today.
Have an awesome day!