I didn’t post my musings last Sunday for the following reasons:
My family and I had been pretty sick the whole week before. I wanted to just sleep in the extra time I had (that I would have ordinarily been working on this kind of post!).
Being sick, I wasn’t spending alot of time reading up on interesting topics, participating in facebook conversations, etc.
So I just left well-enough alone.
This last week was Saint Patrick’s Day (yay!), and if you’ll indulge me, I have quite alot to say on the topic… some food, some not, but still
important valid. (Is it socially acceptable to call your own words important? This sounds too obnoxious.)
First of all, I am emphatic in teaching my children truth. Call me whatever you like, but we discuss who Saint Nicholas really was, there is no tooth fairy, and specific for this holiday, we discuss why we honor Saint Patrick’s memory. (I want to be the place of reason, and truthful answers, not stories that either a) manipulate them into good behavior and b) make them second guess if I’m telling them the whole story. I’m sure I’m going to catch some flack for that. And by all means, there is NO condemnation for the parents that choose to raise their children with these traditions!)
Another big part of this is my own culture and ancestors – we live in New York, where many of the ancestors of locals are Polish, Italian, or maybe even English/Welsh (if they arrived in upstate New York before 1900). I love studying genealogy, and I am a child of two Texans – whose background is comprised of protestant (in the blood, man!), central-Texan German (from both sides), and a touch of Irish. My maiden name is Irish, but protestant-Irish. The difference is important to me, but not so much that I can’t appreciate Saint Patrick. All of this leads me to be certain that I teach my girls the story on the real Saint Patrick – because it’s part of their heritage, too, and honoring to a man who loved Jesus. (And due to the cultural differences and NOT being in Texas where their heritage is ALL OVER THE PLACE, they’re only going to learn this stuff unless I teach them!)
Saint Patrick was a believer, a changed man, who returned to the people who enslaved him to preach the saving message. That message is that this world is a broken place, with broken people. We can try in our strength to make it right, and to be right, but after we are long gone and called to give an account why God should allow us to a heaven, a place of perfection, we can’t say that we were perfect. The wages of the imperfection, this marring of brokenness and sin on our souls, is death. So in comes Jesus, who, being perfect and without fault, and fully God and fully man (that’s a mystery that even I have a hard time wrapping my mind around!), and dies on the cross and conquers death. When we believe he paid the price for that imperfection, and choose to follow Him, we now have security – we have done nothing to deserve heaven and being made right with a Just God, but Jesus’ sacrifice covers that.
Patrick got that. He lived in real slavery, with real sin, and real broken people. He couldn’t leave these people alone, that knew no different, and had no justification before God. So He returned, as a missionary, to Ireland.
So here is a day that honors this man: this man that loved even people that were not deserving of it, and by most people’s opinion, would have had every right to hold a bitter grudge against this people group for the remainder of his life. (And the amazing thing is this – we should know of MORE stories like this! Patrick is not the only missionary who ever loved a people group this much. Look up Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, for example.)
So! We still do many traditions in our home – we wear green, I make green food, we eat a British Isles dinner. But we also do this while discussing this great man who loved God and loved people.
Here is what was on our Irish menu:
Grain-free Irish Soda bread
Cashew Cream Mint Chocolate Pie (I am still not over this pie. IT WAS SO CREAMY AND EASY!) … pic here: https://www.instagram.com/p/0WA_5QskDT/?taken-by=foodies_gone_real
Cottage Pie (interesting fact: technically, you can only call it Shepherd’s Pie if it is made with ground lamb. Since ours was made with grass-fed beef [for which I don’t have a written recipe! sorry!], we call it Cottage Pie.)
For more reading on Saint Patrick, check out this incredible article here.
I will leave you with my absolutely favorite quote, largely attributed to Saint Patrick:
“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”