St. Patrick's Day Is Around the Corner

One of our favorite holidays is St. Patrick's day.  Growing up I didn't do anything for this holiday.  I might have worn green but that's about it.  As a parent I learned about setting traps for Leprechauns and leaving out gold covered candy.  It became a very fun holiday that the kids looked forward to.

The weeks before the kids would think up the type of trap they wanted to set.  The day before we'd make the trap.  Sometimes we used cereal boxes with a trap door on top. They would decorate things with rainbows or the color green hoping to attract the little gold loving creatures.  They were convinced if they caught him they could then get three wishes.

They would wake in the morning to green foot prints all over the house.  Sometimes the foot prints were even across their foreheads.   The toilet water would be green.  Crepe paper would be all over. Sticker shamrocks would liter the house, but their favorite was all the gold wrapped chocolate.  They would check their traps and of course have no leprechaun.  One year my husband and I set out a camera with the kids the night before to "catch" the leprechaun.  In the morning the kids saw a photo my husband had graphically altered to show a leprechaun much bigger than one child's trap looking into it.  The kids were amazed. The traps got bigger.

Soon after that my eldest daughter seemed a little creeped out.  "Is there really a little person that walks around in our house and walks across our faces at night?" she asked with fearful eyes.  We assured her no there was not.  We always want to answer our kids honestly.  They know the leprechaun is not real.  The answer has not dampened their excitement for setting traps.  Now the best trap usually ends up with a small leprechaun figure inside.  They use their creativity and have fun pretending.

What I love, even more than the excitement of traps and candy, is the story of St. Patrick himself.  He was a boy who was stolen from his home by pirates, taken to Ireland, made into a slave and treated awful.  He became a Christian while in captivity, remembering his father's faith.  Through dreams God led him to escape.  He made it back home safely.  Once home he realized he needed to forgive his captors and that they needed the truth of Jesus.  He traveled back to Ireland and taught the truth of God to the very pagan nation.  It is legend that he used the shamrock which grows abundantly there to talk about the trinity of God.  Three leaves, three parts, one plant, one God.  Although that part is probably not true.  There are tales of him driving all the snakes out of Ireland.  Also, not true.  Snakes were never there for some unknown reason.  The metaphor was probably used to talk about his work to try to drive out paganism.

Recently, we read Patrick of Ireland: The Boy Who Forgave together.  His story and adventure is very interesting.  It brings us back to thinking God can use anything, even captivity, to his glory.  When our hearts are not hardened with hatred or fear we can see opportunities to live our lives to help others and bring glory to God. Once again, I am pondering forgiveness and the forms it takes.  Here Patrick was stolen from his home, he was beaten and abused and kept as a slave in a foreign place for 6 years, and yet he forgave.  He realized that un-forgiveness would only harden his heart and hurt him.  How he acted out forgiveness may look different than how I act it out, but the main idea is the same, draw near to God and allow him to heal your hurts.  Forgiveness is much more about your own heart than about the wrongs we face.

As this month draws near to St. Patrick's day I wanted to share some links to help you celebrate the fun, but also remember the person of Patrick and the lessons he taught.  We are to love God and forgive others. If you have a special way of celebrating please feel free to comment below.  I'd love to hear about it!

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and tender hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as God in Christ has forgiven you.  

Links:  Traps      St. Patrick   


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