Today is St. Patrick's Day. Seventy-five percent of us will go out of our way to wear green today. Thirty-five percent of us will go out and party like it's New Years Eve, drinking green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage. But how many of us actually think about how St. Patrick's Day became a holiday in the first place?
Today we are under the impression that St. Patrick's Day is a day to celebrate Irish heritage. Parades are staged, beer is tinted green, and the people who actually celebrate St. Patrick's Day do so in a bar. But who is St. Patrick? The fact that he is a saint should give us some clue that this particular holiday finds it's roots in Christianity.
Nearly 1600 years ago, St. Patrick, a monk, returned to his home country of Ireland, bringing the gospel with him. The Catholics deemed him a saint in honor of his work in establishing the Christian church in Ireland. Notice that there is nothing about green beer in this version of the story.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with people taking a day to celebrate their heritage. Honoring your Irish roots by cooking authentic Irish dishes, and even getting a little giddy and having fun, these I do not have a problem with. The only thing I ask is that you would take a moment to remember what we are really celebrating today:
"Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me." - Saint Patrick