St. Patrick is renowned and revered for bringing Christianity to Ireland. He was a missionary and, for his efforts, is now the patron saint of Ireland. Every March 17 we celebrate St. Patrick and his mission by wearing green, eating corned beef and listening to the Dropkick Murphys.
Also by getting severely inebriated.
For the second year in a row I happened to be in Las Vegas for St. Patrick’s Day. Las Vegas is the perfect place to see how far the celebration of St. Patrick has gotten from the mission of St. Patrick. St. Patrick spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is all about experiencing a new life. The celebration of St. Patrick as we know it, is about embracing everything this world has to offer.
Obviously, a lot the drunk people lining the streets in Vegas couldn’t care less about Jesus and his gospel. For a lot of people green beer, good food and a night they won’t remember, is the best life they can imagine. For those of us who know better, though, we have the opportunity to show them a better life.
We also have the responsibility of living differently. If everyone around us is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo or New Year’s Eve in a way that dishonors God, then we have to live differently. There are a number of Christians who, when it comes to celebrating, look a lot like everyone else around them. St. Patrick didn’t live his life spreading a gospel about being the same. He spread a gospel about transformation and renewal, which lead to living differently.
I’m all for celebrating and enjoying life. God himself commanded his people to regularly celebrate and even enjoy a glass of wine. When we celebrate, though, it should be in response to the goodness of God, not just because we want to party.
How do you celebrate in a God-honoring way?