Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Technically, it's over, as it is 12:20 AM, but I'm sure Marty and Jolie are still working hard at the Foggy Dew, and I've just finished cleaning the kitchen after making - from scratch, thank you very much! - whoopie pies... the chocolate cake-cookies with the frosting in the middle. They never turn out as good as my mom's, but they've got chocolate and frosting, so really, they can never be that bad!

I'm including another excerpt from my best friend in NB's blog about one of our crazy adventures in high school. We have had so many great, ridiculous, fun times together!

Today (Saint Patrick's Day) reminded me why it is important for us, as Christians, not to "write off" even minor religious holidays... especially when they've virtually been appropriated entirely by the secular world. Much can be said by the way we celebrate.

To give a concrete example, during high school (when some whom I know and love were trying to alienate as many people as possible... I'm not naming names...) my best friend and I took great delight in celebrating even obscure holidays (I'll never forget the joy of Waitangi Day!). But whenever a recognised semi-religious holiday came round (one that most people wouldn't know had any faith component, despite the "Saint" at the beginning of the holiday's title), we used it for our covert evangelistic operation.

It went something like this. We bake TONS of cookies in a fun shape (shamrocks, one Saint Patrick's Day, with green frosting, of course), divided them up, and took them with us to all our classes, asked to be allowed to hand out one to each person there (this offer was NEVER refused) and if we could tell the history of the holiday. Almost inevitably we were accepted on this second offer as well - we were telling a free history lesson, after all!

Naturally, in telling our stories, somehow the Gospel just "slipped" out!!! Which isn't surprising when you're talking about Saints and Martyrs. Since the mini-sermon happened to be combined with a history lesson and a yummy cookie, nobody ever complained. In fact, we were complimented on the cookies and frequently told something like, "Oh I never knew that! So there really was some dude named Valentine?"

It's really amazing when you see someone who lives a distinctly un-Christian lifestyle, thinks morals are things of the past, and listens to music that would have instantly gone in the fire had I even considered bringing it home to listen to, come up and ask, "Can I get one of those things you were giving out?" He was refering to candy canes with attached little tracts that had a Bible verse relating somehow to Jesus' birth, which we had been given in bulk by our local Protestant nuns (yes, they exist - and so do Protestant monks). We had dressed up as elves, itchy tinsel and all, and handed them out, but had run out of the candy canes, and told him so. But he still wanted his own little Christmas verse!!!

Just don't let the pagans who have tried to suck all of the faith-basis out of our holidays have all the fun! And never, ever, ever let them forget (insofar as you are able) that there is a reason for and an history of the holiday, and that perhaps they should let a little of that reason speak to the way they choose to celebrate it.

It's funny, because I was thinking today of the ridiculous reasons we found to celebrate... like the 3 month anniversary of the day the Queen's birthday is celebrated in New Zealand... really, you can find something to celebrate every day of your life! And I remember one year in high school, my best friend helped me elaborately celebrate my "un-birthday" in February... it's one of those things you can celebrate every day of the year except one! Alisha, we have so many amazing memories together, and I love you to bits!


Heather said...

That's such a great thing to do! Much of the history of holidays is lost. I always tell my kids the story of Saint Valentine at school. Inevitably, some child says...."oh yeah, and then he died on the cross, right?" LOL! Usually there is some child in the class who will set the record straight...then the story of Easter gets told too! Of course it's a public school, so I am just quiet and let the kids talk it out!

Anonymous said...

That's awesome Janis, thanks for sharing that, AND the link to her blog on your links list... she has a great blog, and sounds like a wonderful friend, you are very blessed indeed!