The celebration of Saint Patrick’s day is especially odd in the USA, where people drink beer to excess in honor of the life of a Christian missionary. What?! All that nonsense about green beer, shamrocks, and leprechauns aside, we can honor the life and ministry of Saint Patrick best by pondering his “breastplate,” a prayer traditionally attributed to him.
During the recent Advent season we followers of Jesus were reminded once again of the epicenter of our faith: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory” (John 1:14). This astounding message changes everything, and that includes prayer. But let’s be honest—the busy-ness of the new year tends to wipe away the afterglow of our Advent experience. I suggest this year we resist our tendency to forget Advent by pondering how the story of Christ’s birth impacts how we pray. Prayer can never be the same after God’s ultimate revelation, the incarnation of the Son of God. We need to pray with our minds set on Christmas.