Friday, March 16, 2012

A Saint, Green Beer, Leprechauns, and Shamrocks .. Which One Doesn't Belong

With St. Patrick's Day coming up this weekend, I thought it would be timely to talk about how we have come to celebrate holidays.  Please do not think I am picking on Ireland or Irish people.  I understand this day is important to them as a nation and I am writing nothing to take from that.  What I am writing about is honoring God as we celebrate holidays.  It offends me when the world abuses a holiday and turns it into a day of drinking, casual sex, reveling, and shopping.  It offends me even more when Christians behave the same way. 
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.  Colossians 3:23-25 NKJV
I know I have posted on this before so I am not going to spend a lot of time speaking about this, but I think it is a good time for a reminder.  This weekend, many Christians will go out and drink green beer, Irish whiskey, and Bailey's Cream until they are falling down drunk.  Some will say they are Irish as though nationality excuses sin.  Some will say that everyone else is doing it as though we are to take our cue for behavior from a world enslaved to sin.  What makes this more ironic is that they are doing it to celebrate SAINT Patrick.  I do not know much of the history of St. Patrick and much of what I could find is unsubstantiated, but if he was a man of God I can tell you for 100% surety that he would not want you to observe his day by sinning in his name.  If he was an evangelist (as seems to be the case to some extent), that is not the message he would have wanted to spread.  That is what we do, though, we add to what used to be a solemn day and what we add is alcohol, demonic creatures, reveling, and items decorated with shamrocks.  That is even more ironic as the shamrock was supposed to be used to be a visual demonstrated used by St. Patrick to explain the Trinity.  I say ironic because people get drunk with beer glasses decorated with shamrocks and do not even get me started on some other sick things that the shamrock is used for. 

Of course, this is not the only time that this happens.  Just look at what the world has done to Christmas.  We have trees decorated with plenty of inappropriate decorations.  We have Christmas themed lingerie that people use for fornication.  We have Christmas sales where we lay up earthly treasures for ourselves and others.  We add a mythical man named Santa Claus whom we practically deified confusing our children when we explain to them that while we lied about the existence of Santa Claus, we really were telling the truth about Jesus.  And, finally, the drinking.  Christmas is also known for people going to Christmas parties and getting themselves drunk.  I am sure Christ is pleased at what Christmas has become.  And then there is Easter where we create a mythical giant talking bunny who lays eggs, we even keep the pagan name of the holiday, and we glutton ourselves on candy.  Jesus becomes merely a small part of an otherwise long day where the goal has turned to please children rather than glorify God.  Other than that, please do not even get me started on weddings, birthday parties, and every other day we make up for celebration.

There are two points I am trying to make.  The first is that we need to stop using holidays as an excuse to sin.  If we are to do all things as to (or for) the Lord, that even includes our celebrations.  There should be no getting drunk on a particular day because you are Irish or because someone is getting married or for any other reason.  We should be examples of righteousness in all that we do.  The other point is that we need to do away with the pagan rites that are becoming more and more of an emphasis to our holidays.  They never really went away, but now our Christmas Trees and Easter Eggs are beginning to look more and more like worldly and pagan traditions than things used to glorify God, if they even can glorify God.  No matter what you are celebrating, Jesus needs to be the center.  If Jesus is the center, you will not celebrate something that should not be celebrated and if Jesus is the center you will not celebrate in a way that you should not be celebrating.  Remember that this weekend, as well as any other day you plan to celebrate. 
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:18-21 NKJV

1 comment:

  1. Amen!

    I'm glad St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday this year since I wont' be at work in NYC and won't have to take the train home. The drunks on the train ride home when St. Patrick's Day falls on a week day are loud and obnoxious. Not what you want to deal with after a long day at the office.

    I fail to see how getting publicly and visibly drunk in any way honors "Saint" Patrick or celebrates Irish ancestry.

    As for me and my house, we will enjoy our corned beef and cabbage along with some Irish Soda Bread and take a pass on the drunken revelry.