Thursday, March 17, 2011

“Lucky” or “Blessed”?

This time of year you see a lot of green. Lawns that had been blanketed with snow all winter begin to acquire a hint of that refreshing color. Stores are decorating their windows with displays of shamrocks, along with promotions for corned beef and cabbage. Even McDonalds has gotten into the act by offering mint green milkshakes.
Like many parents, my husband and I would have fun on St. Patrick's Day with our kids, by fixing green food. While not appetizing to look at, it was priceless to see their faces when they awoke first thing in the morning to green scrambled eggs and green milk. And of course many people wear something green today, too, even though they may not be Irish.

Interestingly enough, Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was actually born in Roman Britain in the 4th century. At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. He was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. That dream must have had a huge impact on him, because upon his return to Britain he studied to be a priest. In the year 432, Patrick sensed the Lord calling him back to Ireland, but this time as a bishop, to help spread Christianity to the Irish. Legend has it that he used the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. Patrick died on March 17, 461, after nearly thirty years of evangelism.

Over the centuries the celebration of his life has become more of a pagan holiday. St. Patrick’s Day, in this country, is commemorated with parades and parties, along with getting pinched if you don’t wear green. The original celebration seems to have lost its original Christian meaning.

On this day, too, we often hear a lot about “the luck of the Irish”, although I doubt Saint Patrick originated that term. To be lucky means to have something happen by chance. A person can be lucky or unlucky, depending on the way things come to pass. Some people believe tangible items can bring them luck, such as a rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover. Believing in luck has its roots in superstition and magic.
Blessings, on the other hand, come from Almighty God, our Creator, our helper, and our divine protector. To bless someone means to ask God to bestow good upon them; to be divinely or supremely favored.

Most Christians don’t believe in luck. We don’t believe that things randomly happen to us, causing us to be lucky or unlucky. Rather we believe in the sovereign hand of God. We know that, if we don’t get the blessing that we may long for, we can rest in the knowledge that it is for our own good; that God has a better plan. We stand on God’s word, especially Romans 8:28: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them”.

Being truly blessed can only come from having a relationship with God. He is calling us to know Him…are you answering His call?

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

God Bless You,


Caroline said...

As usual, another lovely post. You do these so well. I like how you approached today's celebration. Thanks, friend.


Linda Wood Rondeau said...

I agree, blessed is a better way to express our unexpected good fortune than to say we're lucky.

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