Rainbows, buckets of gold, and leprechauns have nothing to with St. Patrick; yet, they are the decoration that abounds in March. Although my family is not Catholic, I appreciate the faith lessons that some of these early Christians have to all Christians. Moreover, I have a passion for taking the once purely Christian holidays, which our culture has stolen and returning their spiritual meaning to them. Therefore, let us reclaim the faith lessons from St. Patrick’s Day.
Face it; my kids are exposed to St. Patrick’s Day. Clearly, it is all around them. Let us then use the opportunity to have fun. Indeed, fun and joy are vital to the Christian life. Christians can have fun & remember the Christian faith lessons from St. Patrick’s Day.
Faith Lessons from St. Patrick’s Day: God can turn curses into blessings
Decidedly, the life of St. Patrick was not an easy one. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery in a foreign land, Ireland. Life as a slave was hard physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Separated from his family, Patrick was also isolated from other Christians. Not only that, he didn’t have a Bible or other Christians with whom to talk. All he had was prayer.
Patrick was a slave, but he prayed every chance he could get. Reportedly, Patrick was not a devout believer before he was kidnapped, but hardship drew him to God. One night, after six long years, God spoke to him in his prayer and told him to go to a port. There he found a ship that carried him back to England.
Later Patrick would answer the call to return to Ireland to spread the gospel. Strikingly God redeemed his experiences and Patrick was able to convert his former master to Christianity. As an influential man, the tribal chief was able to aid Patrick’s mission to spread the news about Jesus.
We love the book about St. Valentine in this same series. My Amazon order of the St. Patrick book just arrived! It is fabulous too. I can’t wait to read it to the kids. Make the celebration truly special with an opportunity to share the gospel with your children. This book would be great for Sunday School or other church gatherings. You will be so thankful you ordered your copy today!
Faith Lessons from St. Patrick’s Day: The Shamrock
There are many legends associated with Patrick, one of which is the legend of the shamrock. The story goes that Patrick was trying to explain the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity. How can you have one God but three persons? His solution was to use a shamrock with three leaves. There is one stem but three leaves, just as God has three embodiments.
In my preschool class, we made an easy craft to help us remember one of the lessons of St. Patrick. You too can create an easy St. Patrick’s Day craft at home with a single piece of green paper. Just fold in half. Draw half a shamrock & cut. We wrote the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit on each of the three leaves. I added each child’s name to the stem of their shamrock. Three leaves but one stem, just as our God has three manifestations, but they are all of the one true God.
Indeed, the mystery of the Trinity is a challenging concept. The shamrock is just one concrete idea to use in explaining it to our children. (Explaining it to ourselves as well. Admit it; you struggle with it too sometimes!) Water is different forms is another excellent example. (God/Ice, Jesus/Water, & the Holy Spirit/Steam) Specifically, it is essential for our children to know that Jesus wasn’t just a good teacher but God on Earth. Teaching our children about the different manifestations of that same God help them to have a biblical view of Jesus.
Faith lessons from St. Patrick’s Day: What can we learn from Patrick’s life?
- Don’t wait too late to come to faith. You never know when your life might change dramatically, like when Patrick was kidnapped. Sometimes children, and their parents, think that they have all the time in the world to come to know Jesus and to mature in the faith. Clearly, sharing the gospel should always be done with urgency.
- Even in the darkest of days, God is there for you and listening. Patrick found God in slavery, and God comforted him and guided him. There is no place that we can go that God is not there with us. The key is that in adversity, we must run to God and not away from God. Likewise, when life makes us wonder if God has abandoned us, we need to train our hearts to draw nearer to Him.
- God can use situations that were meant to harm you to bring about His glory. Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
- Patrick was strategic in his missionary activity. How can we be strategic and wise in sharing the gospel with others? Evangelism isn’t just something that some people can do and some people cannot. In fact, evangelism is a skill to be learned & fine-tuned. Without question, all are called to share the gospel, even if we do not have the title of “missionary.”
- To whom is your family called to be a missionary? Which life experiences are preparing you for that mission? Patrick didn’t dream of being a missionary as a young child. Life happened, and God used those experiences for God’s glory. Similarly, God placed your family where they are for a reason. Just like Esther in the Bible, you are called to such a time and place.
- Call to prayer. Prayer brought Patrick to Jesus and transformed him to be a missionary. Are you praying regularly? Finally, Patrick’s story demonstrates the power of prayer.
Faith Lessons from St. Patrick’s Day: Evangelism
I invite you to reclaim St Patrick’s Day as a beautiful celebration of critical Christian lessons. Put up shamrocks with the names of missionaries associated with your church. You can also write on the shamrocks the names of specific countries that need brave missionaries like Patrick to venture where Christians are few and far between. The real gold that everyone is lucky to find is a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
What faith lessons from Patrick’s life do you want to most celebrate in your home?
Read more about Faith Lessons from St. Valentine’s Day here.