When I think of Ireland, I think of a place that has known more than its share of sad and difficult days. But those things only make me grateful for my Irish ancestry because it is a reminder to me of their determination to overcome. It speaks to me of our faithful Lord who will not abandon us in our trials. He will come to us. And no matter what evil befalls us, He is greater, and His grace endures forever. I don’t need green food coloring. I don’t need to wear green (I tell people my red hair is Irish enough and if they pinch me they’ll find out how much). I’d much rather celebrate the substance at the heart of an overcoming people.
One of my favorite albums is In Christ Alone featuring music from three different recording artists: Margaret Becker, Maire Brennan (of the Irish group Clannad), and Joanne Hogg (of the British group Iona). The album is a testament to unity in worship between Catholic and Protestant, Irish and British and American. It’s a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day greeting card for our loving Creator. One of my favorite songs from the album is “Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer”:
The album is so fantastic it sent me looking for more work from Maire & Joanne (I was already a huge fan of Margaret):
And — I hope you will indulge me — it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without also remembering an important Irish movie and my favorite song from it:
And for those who’d like to see “the book that turned darkness into light” but can’t make it over to Ireland to see it just now, Trinity College has now made it viewable online (thank you, PBS and their Celtic Thunder pledge drive special for the heads up about that!).
This is my idea of a happy St. Patrick’s Day. May yours be especially blessed with the love of God that St. Patrick lived for!
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BONUS: Just one extra tidbit for you if you love this kind of music…if you can ever find the mixed Christmas CD that Margaret’s “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is on, BUY IT. Or download the MP3 here. It’s haunting and by far the best version of this traditional Christmas song I’ve ever heard.