St. Patrick’s day, like so many celebrations in our culture today, has a blend of Christian roots and pagan traditions all mixed together.
Starting with the name, we should consider St. Patrick. Put aside for a moment the Catholic church’s definition of “saint” and the discussion about it’s inconsistency with the Biblical use of the term saint. By all accounts, Patrick was a missionary to Ireland for Christ who had great impact. He overcame great adversity in His life by turning toward the Lord instead of away from Him during trials and difficulty. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated annually to commemorate Patrick on the anniversary of his death.
To this end it would seem there are some aspects of this holiday that one could certainly focus on that have some merit. However, reflect broadly on how the holiday is actually celebrated. What are the symbols you think of most about St. Patrick’s day today? pinching someone if they are not wearing green, dying a lake green, dying beer green, leprechauns, gold at the end of the rainbow, shamrocks for “luck”? How about the big parade? None of these are Christian in any way or point to Christ or to Patrick’s missionary work. Once again, cultural populism and pagan traditions have overshadowed by far a holiday which men have tried to establish to celebrate God’s work. This is quite common in particular with holidays established by the Catholic church as they have a pattern of allowing pagan traditions into the Christian celebrations to help encourage non believers to participate. With a little easy research this is obvious not only from St. Patrick’s day but also Valentine’s day and especially Christmas and Easter.
God does not want us to worship or celebrate the way the pagans do. If you want to recognize or “celebrate” St. Patrick’s day in a way that honors Christ and our relationship with Him, then I suggest making sure you focus on the missionary work of Patrick and God’s work through Him to reach a lost people and deliberately fade the other traditions to the background.
As always, pray for the Spirit to lead you and then expect His answer and listen for it. And ask yourself in all you do… does this honor Christ or distract from His message?
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.