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 leprechauns 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. This site can be helpful in sharing the concept of the Trinity to your children: The Best Way to Explain the Trinity to Kids
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. Color this picture and scripture as you talk.
Order a shamrock craft at Apples for the Teacher.
Here’s a great link about Patrick’s courageous life that will inspire you to stand firm in Christ as you tell others about His love and forgiveness.
Order this illustrated book about Patrick:
Watch this 8 minute Veggie Tale story of St. Patrick: http://youtu.be/UociNQHztiY