Happy St. Patty’s Day!
We began celebrating winter holidays when our girls were little as a way of getting through winter. They liked helping Cindy decorate the house in pink and red (in February) or green and white (here in March). Now that the girls are older I’m trying to understand holidays a little better so we can celebrate more knowledgably. For instance, last week we observed Ash Wednesday for the first time, though a day later on Thursday.
Something has always bothered me about St. Patrick’s Day, though it has nothing to do with the saint who ministered in Ireland. It’s what we connect with the Irish—luck. An ironic association actually, since the Irish have been dealt bad fortune through the centuries.
I’ve been considering some of the things we say just because we do. Like “turn the channel” on the TV. When’s the last time you turned the channel. Or turned the light on, for that matter. There’s something Christians say that would be fine for everyone else to say, but not Christians because it’s not what we believe—or at least it’s not what the Bible teaches.
We usually say “good luck” to someone who is starting something new or setting out on an adventure. Good luck with your performance. Good luck on your history test. Good luck getting that girl’s number.
The Bible teaches that God is in control of all things, that there is no luck, that no situation is serendipitous, that there are no coincidences. I know I’m getting persnickety, but our speech says a lot about who we are. Christians shouldn’t be anxious about what is unknown, because faith has always characterized followers of Jesus. Instead of superstition, how could we demonstrate faith in God in what we say?
It might seem awkward at first, but instead of “good luck!” maybe we could offer, “God be with you.” Or perhaps we could try what is essentially a Hebrew blessing in the word shalom, which carries with it the sense of completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, and tranquility. I’ll take those over luck any day.
Some Christians hate on others for swearing (or cussing or whatever you call it) but then say things like “good luck” without considering their own words. But that’s for another post another day. As you sit wearing your green and eating your Lucky Charms (a childhood favorite of mine) or drinking a tall Guiness draught, consider maybe dropping “good luck” from your well wishes. Let’s leave luck to the leprechauns.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. —Proverbs 18:21 ESV