On March 17, many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by dressing in green, searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and keeping an eye out for the ever mysterious leprechaun. The man behind St. Patrick’s Day, however, was a missionary who took the gospel to Ireland. In the spirit of St. Patrick, why don’t we use the day to instill some great gospel messages to our children, while still having fun with many of the symbols? Today I will give you ten ways to do just that.
1. God wants us to take His message to everyone everywhere!
The Bible Lesson: Read Acts 1:8. According to this verse, God will give us the power to be His messengers to the whole world! First, we must start at home (Jerusalem), then we must venture out into our surrounding area (Judea and Samaria), and finally, we must go to the ends of the earth. St. Patrick did this, and so can we!
The Activity: Make a three leaf clover craft. There are a lot of great ideas out there, and you can be as elaborate or as simple as you and your child desire. The important part is to use the craft to help you and your child think of ways you can tell others about Jesus! There are three leaves on this clover – just like there are three locations where Jesus told us to take the gospel. On each leaf of your clover, write how you can take the gospel to that area (neighborhood, surrounding community, end of the earth). Then spend time praying for each area to hear about Jesus.
If you are looking for some cute craft ideas, check out these:
http://www.housingaforest.com/st-patricks-day-craft/ (paper plate craft idea from Housing a Forest)
http://abccreativelearning.com/shamrock-suncatchers-kids-craft/ (suncatcher craft from ABC Creative Learning. This one has the added benefit of being a “suncatcher” – and we need to “Catch people for the Son”.)
http://www.craftymorning.com/shamrock-toilet-paper-roll-stamp-st-patricks-day-craft/ (paint a shamrock using toilet paper tubes – great idea from Crafty Morning!)
2. We are the Light of the World
The Bible Lesson: Read Matthew 5:14-16. We are the light of the world! That means we need to let our lights shine all over the place. Everyone who sees us should know that we love Jesus – and we should want everyone else to get to know Jesus through us! How did St. Patrick show that he was the light of the world? How can we show our lights in our communities?
The Activity: Make a St. Patrick’s Day candle. Discuss ways to let your light shine as you are making it. Find instructions for how to do this here:
3. We can truly find our pot of gold at the end of our rainbow!
The Bible Lesson: Make a “Salvation” rainbow that leads to a pot of gold! Perhaps you have heard of salvation bracelets before – each color bead represents a different part of the gospel message. Well, why not do the same thing, only with a rainbow and pot of gold for St. Patrick’s Day?
The Activity: Start with black. (Yeah, I know, you can’t find black in a rainbow. However, there is often black in the sky before it storms, so make your own little storm cloud with black to represent sin. A great Bible verse to go along with this is Romans 3:23.)
Next, make a red layer for your rainbow. Red stands for the blood of Jesus. 1 John 1:7 is a great verse to use for this layer.
Follow the red layer with a blue layer which stands for baptism. Acts 2:38 works well with this layer.
Next, add a white layer to represent what happens when our sins are washed away. We are cleansed . . . clean . . . pure. Isaiah 1:18 can go with this layer.
Then add a layer of green. Green reminds us that we need to grow in our faith. 2 Peter 3:18 is perfect for this layer.
Finally, add your pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. This pot of gold represents heaven. Some day we will be in heaven with Jesus. John 14:2 is a great verse for this.
So see, you really CAN find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
There’s a lot of great craft ideas for making rainbows and pots of gold, but the one that I think would work the best with this Bible application is this one from Crafty Morning. Check it out!
4. We need to grow in our faith!
The Bible Lesson: Read 2 Peter 3:18. We need to grow closer to Jesus each day! Talk with your child about ways that he can grow as a Christian. (Suggestions include reading the Bible, praying, attending church, telling others about Jesus, listening to Christian music).
The Activity: Grow your own live shamrock! This project is great because you can literally watch it growing in front of your eyes. It will start out small and then get bigger, and you can reinforce how you need to make sure you are giving it the right ingredients to help it grow (just like Christians need the right ingredients to grow spiritually!) Find instructions for growing your own shamrocks here:
5. God holds us in His hands and will not let us go!
The Bible Lesson: It is hard to do a post like this without taking a look at the three leaf clover in relation to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Here is a fun way to explore this concept with an extra special little “twist”.
The Activity: Make a pretzel three leaf clover snack, with a tasty chocolate treat in the middle.
Find instructions here: http://vtpinspiration.blogspot.com/2012/03/twisted-shamrocks.html
As you are making this snack, explain to your child how God is holding him in His hands. The pretzels each represent one part of God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit), while the chocolate in the middle represents your child. God is protecting and surrounding your child . . . He loves your child and will not let him go. And, when your child eats the snack, remind him that God will even go with your child into dangerous, scary and dark situations – just like the pretzels went with the chocolate into your stomach!
6. God gives us many blessings!
Bible Lesson: Many people associate “luck” with St. Patrick’s Day, but I don’t believe in luck. I do, however, believe that God blesses us in many ways, and I think it would be great to use St. Patrick’s Day to reflect on the blessings God has lavished on us. (See 1 John 3:1 for a reminder of the greatest blessing we have from God!)
The Activity: Make a “blessing” shamrock. Trace a large shamrock on a piece of paper. Then have your child draw, write, glue photographs, etc, of all the ways God has blessed him. In the middle of the shamrock, write the words, “I am BLESSED by God”. You can find a great example of this (except for the fact that this one uses luck) here:
7. Jesus is the Bread of Life
The Bible Lesson: Jesus came so that we could have life. He willingly gave up His life for us, even though we certainly didn’t deserve it. Read John 3:16-17 and talk about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
The Activity: Make Irish Soda Bread. This is a traditional Irish bread that will help you get in the mood for St. Patrick’s Day, and also serve as a reminder that Jesus is the Bread of Life! To add to the lesson, make a cross in the top of the bread before you bake it. You can find a recipe for this bread at the following sites:
8. I will Show the World that I’m a Christian!
The Bible Lesson: We need to let everyone know that we are Christians. The Bible says that if we confess Jesus before men, He will confess us before His Father. St. Patrick certainly confessed Jesus before men, didn’t he? Read Matthew 10:33-34 and discuss the importance of showing the world that we stand for Christ.
The Activity: One way that we show the world that we stand for something is by flying a flag. If we fly the flag of our country at our house, everyone knows that we are proud of our country! Show your child a copy of the flag of Ireland. You might even want to read this explanation of Ireland’s flag:
Just like we show the world that we are proud of our country, we need to let everyone know that we are proud of God! Have your child make his own “flag” to show the world that He is a Christian.
9. Satan can be deceptive. Be on your guard!
The Bible Lesson: Satan is our enemy! He will try to deceive us and get us to sin. We need to always be on our guard against him and his “slimy” ways. Read 2 Corinthians 11:14. Sometimes evil might look good to us, but in the end, it is a sticky mess.
The Application: Make St. Patrick’s Day slime! The slime will have a strange consistency and will be fun to play with . . . but also deceptive. Is it solid or liquid or what? Remind your child that evil is also deceptive. We need to be careful to know exactly what the Bible says and not to get led away by the deceitfulness of sin! For the recipe for St. Patrick’s Day slime, visit Little Bins for Little Hands:
10. We can always trust God’s Promises!
The Bible Lesson: God always keeps His promises! One reminder of this is found in Genesis 9:11-17 when God establishes His covenant with Noah. God placed a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of that covenant, and today, we can look at a rainbow and remember that God always keeps His promises!
The Activity: Make a rainbow in a jar. This is a really cool activity that can serve as a great teaching tool as well. Each time you add a layer, say one of the promises that God has made in the Bible. (For example: God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us, He promises that He will come back again some day, etc.) See how many promises you can remember – and then see the cool rainbow in a jar! Find instructions for how to make a rainbow in a jar at Playdough to Plato:
I hope you enjoy these ideas and that you will be able to use them with your children as a way to intentionally share your faith! If you liked what you saw here, please pass this along to your friends. They might like it, too! And, if you haven’t already, please like my facebook page, follow this blog, or follow me on twitter.
Thanks and may God bless you as you strive to raise godly children for Him!