History of St Patrick’s Day (A Lesson in Forgiveness)



Did you or your children ever wonder why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?    I’m not sure what lies behind some of the traditions associated with the day, but the man that the holiday is named for has a story children need to hear.

Did you know Patrick isn’t Irish? About 385 years after Jesus lived, Patrick was born into a wealthy English family.  When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave where he worked as a shepherd.  During this time he was lonely and afraid; this caused him to turn to God with his whole heart and he began to experience the love of Jesus..  After about 6 years as a slave, Patrick escaped and returned to his home country where he began studying to be a priest.

However, he did not forget Ireland; he had a desire to go back one day and tell them about Jesus.  He did eventually return there as a missionary.  Isn’t that amazing that he would want to go back to the place where he had been enslaved and tell them of God’s love?  What an act of forgiveness! Eventually Patrick was called a saint by the Catholic Church because of his love and kindness to the people of Ireland.

So because Jesus loved Patrick, Patrick was able to love and forgive the people of Ireland and then he spent his life telling them about Jesus. Patrick died on March 17, 461 and now we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each March 17.

Please make your children aware in the midst of the stories of leprechans and the various ways of observing the holiday, that the reason for the activities this week is because Jesus loved and cared for Patrick and then Patrick loved and care for the people who had wronged him.  It would be a good time to share these verses:

Ephes. 4:32     And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
John 15:12     This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

It is believed that Patrick brought the shamrock plant to Ireland and used the three-leafed plant to illustrate the message of the Trinity. This would be a good time to teach about the Trinity.  Click here for help in sharing the concept with your children.  A good children’s book to illustrate the Trinity is 3 in 1: A Picture of God.

Go outside and look for clover and talk about the Trinity; be like St. Patrick teaching the Irish.

Order a shamrock craft at Apples for the Teacher.

Download a St. Patrick’s Day coloring page at Ministry-to-Children.com

Watch this 8 minute Veggie Tale story of St. Patrick: http://youtu.be/UociNQHztiY



Presidents’ Day – Celebrating Two Great Presidents!


Presidents’ Day is intended to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are both in February.  Their birthdays were observed separately until 1971 when Congress decided the two would be combined into one national holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February.

This is a great time to teach your children about the godly character of these two men. God tells us to remember how He dealt with our ancestors: 1 Cor. 10:1 Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea.

George Washington:

Tell about the truthfulness of George Washington even as a young boy in the story of the cherry tree.  Here is a site that tells the story and has printable coloring pictures:

George Washington, sometime before the age of 16, transcribed “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation.” These are good rules to teach your children. This site depicts them in cartoons.

Read at this site and then share with excitement in your own words about how God divinely protected George Washington during the French and Indian War.  You can read the entire account of this in the book  The Bulletproof George Washington

Abraham Lincoln:

Tell why Abraham Lincoln became known as ‘Honest Abe’.  Read about it here and get printable coloring sheets as well.

Read this article about the faith of Abraham Lincoln.  This is what he said before the Battle of Gettysburg” . . . oppressed by the gravity of our affairs, I went to my room one day and locked the door and got down on my knees before almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this war was His, and our cause His cause . . . Then and there I made a solemn vow to almighty God that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. And after that, I don’t know how it was, and I cannot explain it, soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul. The feeling came that God had taken the whole business into His own hands, and that things would go right at Gettysburg. . .” from Abraham Lincoln: The Man & His Faith

Here’s an excellent interactive site for both presidents.

We can use this day to pray for our current president and leaders as well.  They have been placed in their position by God: Daniel 2:21 He changes times and periods of history.He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight. Download this coloring sheet that gives suggestions of what to pray for our leaders.


Who is Valentine?

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As always, we want our children to know the reason for any celebration and see how it might relate to Christ.  Here’s what my research found:

Historical Information

Valentine was a priest near Rome in about 270 AD.  At that time the Roman Emperor Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers so he abolished marriage.  Valentine  invited young lovers to come to him in secret where he joined them in marriage.  When the emperor heard of this ‘friend of lovers’, he was impressed with his conviction and attempted to convert him to the Roman gods while Valentine attempted to convert the emperor to Christianity.  When Valentine would not renounce Christianity, he was imprisoned.

While in prison, he witnessed to the guards.  One of the guards had adopted a blind girl and asked Valentine if his God could help the daughter see again.  Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight.  The guard and his whole family believed in Jesus and were baptized.  Valentine fell in love with the girl.  When the emperor heard about Valentine making converts in prison, he was furious and had Valentine beheaded.

Before Valentine died on February 14th, he signed a farewell message to his love and signed it ‘from your Valentine’, a phrase that has lived long after its author died.  Thus began the sending of  Valentines.

Because of Valentine’s dedication to the Lord, he was made a saint by the Catholic church.   The church was seeking to usurp the popularity of the Roman god Lupercus.  At the Lupercusian festival each year around the middle of February, a young man was assigned a woman companion for his ‘pleasure’ until the next year at the festival when he would get a different woman.  The Catholic church was determined to put an end to this 800 year old immoral practice and Valentine seemed to be the ideal candidate to become a ‘lovers’ saint.

How to Share This with Children:

The ruler of Rome, Emperor Claudius, thought there were many gods, but a man named Valentine loved God with all his heart and told people that Jesus is the one true God.  This made the Emperor Claudius very angry so he had Valentine put in jail.  But even in jail, Valentine kept telling people about Jesus.  The guard in the prison had a blind daughter and he asked Valentine if God could heal her.  Valentine prayed for her and God caused her to see again.  The guard and his whole family believed in Jesus after that and loved God with all their hearts.

The emperor was so upset when he heard that Valentine was still telling people about Jesus, that he had him killed.  Before Valentine died he sent a message to the jailer’s daughter whom he had fallen in love with.  He signed the message ‘from your Valentine’ and this is where the sending of ‘Valentines’ began.

Because Valentine loved Jesus so much, the Catholic church named him a ‘saint’ which is what someone is called that loves Jesus and cares about others.  Each year we think about those we love and send them Valentines.  Let’s remember that the first Valentine was sent by a man who loved God with all his heart.

On Valentine’s Day we may get flowers, cards, candy, or other things from friends who love us,  but the very best gift that was sent to show love to us was sent a very long time ago.  It was Jesus who was born to one day die on the cross for the wrong things we have done.  The Bible says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)


  • Emphasize God’s love for them, their love for God, and love for others as you help your children make Valentines for their friends, include any of the following verses on the cards:
    1 John 4:9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into this wicked world to bring to us eternal  life through his death.
    1 John 4:16b:  God is love.
    1 John 4:19:  We love because he [God] first loved us
    1 John 5:3:  This is love for GOD:  to obey his commands.
    John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
    1 John 4:11  Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too.
  • Make a giant heart out of red poster board.  Write Luke 10:27 or Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” on the heart.   Cut it into age-appropriate puzzle pieces.  As you put each piece together say, “that’s not all my heart” until the puzzle is finished.  Then read the verse and encourage the child to say, “God, I love you with all my heart”.  If you have several children you can make two heart puzzles and race to see who can give God all their heart first.




Happy New Year!!!



Rev. 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” 

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

As always, it is important to explain to your children what we are celebrating:

  • Have each family member draw pictures of things they remember about this last year.  Thank God for those things – the good and the not so good.
  • Emphasize the fact that no matter what happened last year, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to begin new things like being a better listener, being quick to obey, learning something new, making a new friend, exploring a new place, etc.  
  • Make a list together of things you would like to accomplish in 2018.  Make this your family’s prayer list for the year.  
  • Illustrate these and put them in a prayer box to pull out during prayer time.
  • Use the scriptures above to point out that Jesus gives us hope for new things in the new year.
  • Check out the following links for activities to celebrate New Year’s.

Free Coloring Pages:




Free download  http://ministry-to-children.com/new-years-eve-party-activities-and-games/

Free download  http://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/collections/free-stuff/products/10-new-years-minute-to-win-it-games


Here’s a poem that has been my heart cry for over 30 years.  It is a good one to memorize and pray intentionally on a regular basis in the new year:

Lord Jesus, make yourself to me

 a living, bright reality

More present to faith’s vision keen

Than any outward object seen

More dear, more intimately nigh

Than even my sweetest earthly tie

by Charlotte Elliott


Traditional Christmas Symbols and Their Meanings


Many of the symbols associated with Christmas are derived from the traditional pagan celebrations. The decorating of Christmas trees, the eating of ham, the hanging of wreaths, holly, mistletoe, etc. are all historically pagan practices associated with Yule or winter solace.

So why have we been using these pagan traditions in our Christian celebration?

An old English historical writing helps us understand how this came about.  It contains a letter from Pope Gregory to Saint Mellitus, who was then on his way to England to conduct missionary work among the pagan Anglo-Saxons.

Pope Gregory suggested that converting heathens would go easier if they were allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions, while reinterpreting those traditions spiritually towards the Christian God instead of to their pagan “devils”: “to the end that, whilst some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the grace of God”.

Enjoy the traditional practices of Christmas.  As Christians let’s not be so different from the world that the world wouldn’t want what we have. Listen to what Pope Gregory said and rather than condemn the pagan traditions, give them Spiritual meaning.  We should try to use these dark traditions to spread the “Light” into the darkness. (John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”)

Search this website www.trainupthechild.org for the history of  various objects associated with Christmas and see how to relate them to the birth of Christ.  Just type in the search bar the tradition you wish to learn more about.