What does Jesus have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?

About 385 years after Jesus lived, a boy named Patrick was born in England. 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 and he began to experience the love of Jesus.  After about 6 years as a slave, Patrick escaped, went back to England, and 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 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.

Get a shamrock craft at Apples for the Teacher.

You can download a St. Patrick’s Day coloring page at Ministry-to-Children.com

 

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Happy President’s Day

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.

Tell them 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

Tell your children 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.

 

 

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Give Thanks to the Giver of All Things!

Romans 11:36
For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory. To him be glory evermore.

 

The Pilgrims acknowledged God as the One who had provided all things during their first year in their new land.  Have fun making your children aware of the first Thanksgiving by acting it out with Indian headbands and Pilgrim hats. Click here for a coloring book you can download and print that gives a simple explanation of the first Thanksgiving.  Talk about each page as you color.

The following sites have patterns for pilgrim hats and Indian headbands:

http://crafts.kaboose.com/pilgrim-hat-for-girls.html

http://crafts.kaboose.com/pilgrim-hat-for-boys.html

http://www.theholidayspot.com/thanksgiving/crafts/indian.htm

Encourage each family member to thank God for something; be ready with suggestions or even have pictures of things to be thankful for.   Have a Happy Family Thanksgiving as you give thanks to the Giver of all things!!!

 

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Celebrating Columbus Day

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.
Mark 16:15

History:

‘In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue!’  But why did he set sail?

“Christopher Columbus had a belief that God intended him to sail the Atlantic Ocean in order to spread Christianity. He said his prayers several times daily. Columbus wrote what he called a Book of Prophecies, which is a compilation of passages Columbus selected from the Bible which he believed were pertinent to his mission of discovery.  Columbus’s own writings prove that he believed that God revealed His plan for the world in the Bible, the infallible Word of God. Columbus believed that he was obeying the mission God staked out for his life when he set sail west across the Atlantic Ocean.”  Phyllis Schlafly Radio Script, October 14, 2002

Washington Irving writes of Christopher Columbus: “ Whenever he made any great discovery, he celebrated it by solemn thanks to God. The voice of prayer and melody of praise rose from his ships when they first beheld the New World, and his first action on landing was to prostrate himself upon the earth and return thanksgivings.”

Teach your children that each Columbus Day, we celebrate the life of a brave explorer who loved Jesus and obeyed the Bible’s command to spread the gospel.  He landed in the Americas on October 12, 1492. It was first celebrated in 1866.   October 12th was made a federal holiday in 1934.  Since 1970 it has been celebrated yearly on the 2nd Monday of October.

The results of Columbus sailing the ocean blue was the discovery that the Earth was indeed round and also the settlement of new lands.  This resulted in the further spreading of the Good News which led eventually to our hearing the Gospel of Jesus.

Activities:

  • Trace his journey on a globe from Spain to San Salvador Island:

  • Play with a ball, preferably an inflated globe ball, and talk about the fact that Columbus discovered that the world was round.
  • Tape off a boat on the floor or make one out of a large box and pretend to be Columbus discovering America.  Then get out and lay on the ground and thank God and sing as Columbus did.  Pretend the stuffed animals are the natives in the land and tell them about Jesus.
  • Check out this site for some Columbus Day crafts: http://www.dltk-kids.com/Crafts/columbus/index.htm
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Labor Day

So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height,
for the people had a mind to work.
Nehemiah. 4:6

Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. It has been celebrated as a national holiday in the since 1894. You can read the history of this holiday here.

Labor day is a good time to memorize this verse and talk about having a mind to work.  Read the story of Nehemiah in your Bible and tell it in your own words – 0r – find it in a children’s Bible and read it to your children.  The walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed and Nehemiah led the people to rebuild them.  They had a mind to work.

  • Build a wall together out of pillows and share the story.
  • Talk about having a mind to work.  Think of ways your children can ‘work’.  Find suggestions here.
  • Memorize Nehemiah 4:6 “…the people had a mind to work.”
  • Thank God for the work that Dad does and the work that Mom does.
  • Lead your children to be thankful to those they encounter doing their work.
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