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Leprechaun impostors frolic along beer-scented streets. Shamrock patterned underwear hangs in the local department stores. Party favors honor the shamrock as a lucky charm, rather than a symbol explaining the Holy Trinity. Tavern patrons cheer St. Paddy without praising his evangelism. Most cities celebrate St. Patrick’s day with little regard for the saint or his legacy.

Despite its lighthearted intent, one holiday tradition reflects the influence of a saint. Authorities load small boats with special equipment. The sanctioned crafts launch a vibrant green dye into the water. Wherever they go, the river transforms into a beautiful new flow of color.

The Lord commissioned and equipped an escaped slave to transform the spiritual environment of a nation. Saint Patrick delivered the gospel to Ireland, leaving a glimmer of hope across the nation’s landscape. He blended new meaning into existing symbols. Wherever he went, vibrant news of eternal life sprang up alongside his path.

Scripture refers to all Christ-followers as saints. Equipped with the truth and anointed with the Spirit, we each have an opportunity to change the spiritual environment wherever we go. The culture around us starves for the truth, and a few small vessels can transform the world.

Will you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with me by greening a bit of the river around us?

“This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah” (Ephesians 3:8).

“I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-27).

An atheist erected a beer-can pole near the nativity scene in Florida’s capitol building. He dubbed the eyesore a “Festivus pole,” citing the synthetic holiday originating in a Seinfeld episode. During the television interview, he expressed his desire to present the most ridiculous display he could imagine.

Atheistic protests have increased in recent years. In avid worship of disbelief, this minority group seeks to usurp our right to express respect for the true Lord. The shadow of humanism seems most inappropriate at Christmas. Many believers gasp at the affront to our cherished season’s original meaning.

Digging deeper into the story, however, we find this news clip brings nothing new. False religions defiled the honored public places and government buildings during the night of our Savior’s birth. Humanistic idols littered the earth for thousands of years preceding the first Noel. Asherah poles plagued ancient Israel’s high places. Instead of seeking the true Lord, men erected hedonistic poles with which they felt able to control all things seen and unseen. Much like modern atheists, the ancient pagan worshipers sought to direct their own spiritual sovereignty.

The poles of false religions fail to eclipse Christmas, for they represent the reason for a Savior’s birth into the dark world of humanity. Man wandered away from his Creator. Without the light of divine truth, humans lost their grasp upon morality and life. We could not rescue ourselves from the depraved state of the world. God poured His Son into our bleak existence. He entered the world as a homeless, impoverished outcast amid the rule of oppressive tyrants and emperors. He suffered our challenges to save us from ourselves.

The Asherah and Festivus poles remind us of God’s redeeming love, and the indubious light of Christmas. 

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” – John 1:5-14

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” – Isaiah 9:2

Dry skin shrivels into minuscule canyons between veins and wrinkles, aging my hands decades beyond the years they’ve earned. A pinched spot eases back into place, confirming my need for water.  I drink the last drop from my glass, but my flesh will soon crave more.

Just outside, noon rays crisp each blade of yellowed grass. Blooms fail and birds hide from the perilous heat. A parching climate cracks and peels away the velvety surfaces of life, sharpening once-gentle touches. Earth itself buckles under an oppressive lack of moisture.

Creation struggles with thirst, an unquenchable need for daily sips of heaven-sent life. The world cannot drink its fill and rest in sustained wellness. Again and again, it must receive what it cannot give itself.

Substitutions and corrupt waters fail. Though flavorful to some, they can neither yield crops nor replenish tissue. The deadly risk of dehydration haunts our planet, and a single hope remains–living water.

The fulcrum of life’s dependence upon purity to quench away certain death keeps our reliance upon the Creator and Redeemer ever before us. The gospel echoes across the dry world, resonating with Jesus’s words to a parched woman’s soul in John 4:10 “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

In Christ, we have an eternal source of hope within us. Access to life no longer threatens the redeemed spirit, for Living Water dwells within. The Lord commissions us to participate in His irrigation of earth.

“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38).

Have you gulped from the Christ spring today? Will you partner with Jesus to water those thirsting alongside you?

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