It's that time of year again; when all the wanna-be Irish erupt into a frenzy of green and proclaim their Irishness. I blogged a bit about Ireland yesterday without even really thinking that today was the day everyone get's all het up about.
Thanks to History.com, I learned that the first St. Patrick's Day parade did not take place in Ireland but in the
United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched
through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the
parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as
fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
But who among today's revelers knows the origins of St. Patrick? The son of wealthy English parents, St. Patrick was reputedly taken captive by Irish bandits, who also plundered his parent's estate. During the ensuing six years of captivity, St. Patrick turned to Christ for comfort. According to writings, God came to him in a dream and said it was time to leave, after which St. Patrick escaped and returned to England.
However, in another dream, an angel came to St. Patrick and told him that he must return to Ireland for missionary work. After fifteen years of study St. Patrick did so, ministering to Christians and converting the Pagans. Many believe that St. Patrick is responsible for bringing Christianity to Ireland.
So, far from the green beer and raucous parades, today should be a day spent in prayer and thanksgiving. Perhaps the party atmosphere comes from the original celebrations of St. Patrick by the Irish, which included church services in the morning and then feasting in the afternoon.
Although much about St. Patrick is clouded by the mists of time, it's clear that he was used in a great way by God to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a beautiful land.
What say ye?
Thanks to Joan Schroeder and her article on Helium for background on St. Patrick.