A Saint’s Example and a Giveaway!

As a family, we enjoy learning about great missionaries of the faith – whether from the pages of the New Testament and the travels of Paul, or from current day servants who try to spread the wonderful, life-saving news of Jesus in remote places.

Did you know that this month there is another missionary we can glean from as we hear of his longing to reach others for Christ?

I am talking about St. Patrick.

What do we really know of St. Patrick, in who’s honor patrons don green? To look around at the way modern day folk celebrate St. Patrick’s day, you’d think it all had to do with shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows and the ever famous pot of gold at the end of them. Well, that and the traditional “wearing of the green” to prevent any pinching that might occur on March 17th each year. But there is actually some wonderful truth that we can celebrate at this holiday and can pass along to the children in our lives.

For as far as history can tell, the story goes like this: At about the age of 16, Patrick, a Scottish young man born into wealth sometime in the late fourth century, most likely around 385, was violently captured by Irish raiders and forced into a life of slavery. Patrick later escaped and was reunited with his family, but in a dream, felt called by God back to Ireland to spread Christianity to the people of that isle. So this godly young man set about to make this dream come true.

He prayed for God’s strength and then studied scripture to ready himself. Then He was prepared to return to the land of his captivity. He preached the Gospel and built churches throughout the country until his death on March 17, 461.

For the modern day Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is considered a time for spiritual renewal as they fondly remember the slave-turned-evangelist who spread Christianity to the Emerald Isle. For our family today, we feel we can use him as an example of what a young person, sold out for God can do in their generation.

Just think about this man. How many of us, after being captured and held as a slave and forced to work in a foreign land, when finally set free, would actually return to the very place where we were enslaved? It must have taken a great deal of maturity and immense faith in God’s protection to go back to that island.

And Patrick must have known that spiritual bondage is far, far worse than physical slavery.

In some ways, don’t we see modern day examples of just such a story? The drug addict who finds freedom from a life of addiction through faith in Christ, sensing a call to return to their old neighborhood and preach the freedom and everlasting life Jesus offers. The women who made a bad choice resulting in her and her unborn child both being the victims of abortion. Now she longs to counsel young girls to choose life for themselves and for their precious baby.

All of these people serve as wonderful examples of someone who found freedom and longed to lead others there as well.

So at this time of year, when you spy a leprechaun or see a shamrock, whisper a prayer that God continues to raise up men and women who have been set free to return to the land of their captivity and lead others to the same liberating, life-giving freedom.

And if you want to enter a little giveaway in honor of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, leave a comment today and you might win a bag of Irish cream and cocoa dusted whole almonds and some of my favorite whole bean Irish cream decaf coffee from Horrock’s Farm Market. (If the winner needs the coffee ground, I’ll grind it for you before I send it)

To enter, simply tell us any of the following:

  • Your favorite St. Pat’s tradition or food
  • Your favorite shade of green (lime, Kelly, grass, sage….)
  • Or, if time is tight, simply say “I’m in!”

The winner will be announced Wednesday morning,

Top-of-the-morning-blessings,

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  • We always have a green family dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. It started when my kids were too small to understand the true story but thought it was fun to celebrate anyway. It is always tricky to make this meal since my son is allergic to blue food dye. I love to get inventive with pesto and spinach pasta or other fun stuff like that. I love lime green makes me feel cheery like summer.

  • My favorite St. Pat’s food is McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes! :-) Although, my birthday is the 14th, so I’ve always kind of considered them a birthday treat.

  • We always have the traditional boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day in our home. But I love it – we have it throughout the year as well. I love the shades of green in trees. My maternal side of the family is of Irish heritage, and like Amy, my grandmother always stressed that we wear orange because we are protestant, not the green of catholics. So now I wear both, to honor my protestant heritage and the spirit of the day. Thank you for sharing the story of St. Patrick – I had not known that, but will gladly share this with my children this year.

  • I always wear green on St Pat. day. Guess that’s the # 1 tradition, right? One of my favorite foods for this holiday is a cookie called Blarney Stones, made with pistachio pudding mix. I found this recipe in a magazine years ago. Our meal usually includes a cabbage dish.
    Thanks for the info on St Pat. i did not know this.
    Have a great day!

  • I like sage green….being part Irish I love reading about St. Patrick. What a great thing to tell our children that this isn’t just about 4-leaf clovers and McDonald’s Shamrock shakes! :)

    -Amy

  • I’m in. Thank you, by the way! My family is proud of our Irish and Scottish heritage, however, I’ve never heard this story. It has added a new level of depth and understanding to our rich heritage! I can now better relate to the joy of freedom and the deep desire to share it with others, Yeah!

  • My great-grandmother’s birthday was March 17th, and she had traced our roots WAYYY back to Ireland over 400 years ago. In second grade my dad took me to visit her on her birthday, and when I walked in, she was appalled to see a GREEN shamrock pin on my shirt. She told me that in Ireland green is the color for Catholics and that my family has been Protestant for hundreds of years, and that we HAD to wear orange, to represent the war won by William of Orange in 1066, the color of Protestantism. Ever since I’ve worn orange on St. Pat’s in remembrance of my ancestors, who may not have been the most popular in our homeland of Ireland, but who stood up for what they believed (and to remember Grandma- always makes me smile to wear orange on her birthday). :-)

  • Colleen is Irish for “a young girl” and when I was young, I always loved that my name was in the dictionary! My sister was born 22 minutes “late” after St. Patrick’s Day, so they named her Karen instead. Lo and behold I came along on Christmas eve, and I got the name Colleen! My daddy was so proud of being Irish.

    As for the color green, I am a landscape designer and love every shade of green, especially when they are blended together in a lovely palette in a shade garden!

  • Love the post–we’ve made a tradition out of re-telling St. Patrick’s story each year. We also revisit the (legendary?) significance of the shamrock. I’ll be using your post as part of our celebration this year!

  • Does Irish creme coffee count as a St. Patty’s day food?? :) I also love Reuben sandwiches!

    at this point in the year, i will take any shade of green over the blanket of white that surrounds my house… bring on the spring!! :)

    thanks for the refresher on the history of St. Patrick… it gets lost in all the shamrocks, parades, beer, etc!!

  • We do the traditional corned beef and cabbage for foods :-)

    My favorite color is Kelly Green…

    St. Patrick’s day is a huge celebration, because three of my son’s birthdays are 2 days after. :-)

  • Karen, My favorite part of St. Patrick’s Day is that my son was born on it 16 years ago!! I also LOVE corned beef, especially on Rueben’s. To be honest, I had no idea about the true story of St. Patrick and plan to share it with my family this year. Thanks for a wonderful message!

  • I should have put this in my above post. I”m not trying to enter the giveaway twice, throw my name out as a matter of fact, since I just won! I just wanted to say thanks so much for this post, because I am ashamed to say I had no idea of the true story of St. Patrick…I can’t wait to tell my kids all about it on St. Patrick’s Day and try some of the memory making ideas in the book you sent:)

  • I really like corned beef, and my favorite green in lime green… currently I LOVE it paired with either white (cool, crisp, and clean) or chocolate brown:)

  • Good morning, Karen. My boss one time asked me if I had a green dress, I told him I didn’t think so. He said he was glad and I asked why. He said that my lipstick always matched my dress and he didn’t want to see green lipstick. . :D I like corned beef and cabbage. I really like steamed cabbage. My favorite color of green would be deep, forest green. And one of my favorite blessings: May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.