Today is Saint Patrick's day! A day in America known for green beer, green rivers, green clothes, excessive pinching, and the delicious Shamrock Shake from McDonald's. I've always been a sucker for a Shamrock Shake. In fact, I've only had one shake in the past year, and it was a Shamrock Shake!
So based on these traditions you might think that Saint Patrick was a drunken leprechaun, who wore green clothes, loved fatty foods and had a weird fetish for pinching. You'd be wrong. In fact, he probably wasn't anything like that. Details about the dude are pretty sketchy, because he lived 1600 years ago. There are lots of tall tales about the man, but there are several things that are pretty solid.
He was from Britain.
He was kidnapped by some Irish dudes when he was 16 years old. They enslaved him and he became a sheepherder for the next 6 or so years.
He wasn't very serious about following Christ before his kidnapping. He said he prayed a lot during those 6 years.
Ireland was not yet touched by Christianity at the time, so Patrick was on his own as far as pursuing his faith in Jesus while a slave.
He received some sort of vision from God that told him to flee, board a ship and head home.
He got home and at some point after that, had another vision that told him to go back to Ireland and tell the Irish people about Jesus.
He went back.
He told thousands and thousands and thousands of Irish men and women about Christ. In fact, he is credited with bringing the gospel to Ireland.
People in Ireland for the next 1600 years were very thankful for Saint Patrick's willingness to come back, so they created a holiday in his name.
Those are the basics. You can google St. Patrick and read more about him. This is a nice little article about him on Relevant. While I was reading about St. Patrick this week, it's one of many articles I read.