It’s St. Patrick’s Day.
Today all the world is Irish. Everyone wears green. (And woe to the person who doesn’t!)
This morning, as I searched through my closet desperately digging for something green, I thought about my dad. Growing up, I thought my daddy was the luckiest person on earth all because he had green eyes and didn’t have to ever worry about being pinched.
Genetics gave me eyes like my mother, blue as blue could ever be. Yet, my first baby as well as my last have those Irish-green eyes, just like my dad. Lucky kids. This morning they won’t have to scrounge for something green to wear.
My family tree is surely rooted in Ireland, Scotland and England.
Going back just three previous generations to my great-grandparents, those eight surnames all trace their origins back to that area of the world:
McGee, McGuffee, Joyce … Ireland
Terry and Todd … Scotland
Austin, Stinson and Thompson … England
Maybe this explains why whenever bagpipes play, my heart wells up with a pride and joy I can’t quite explain. Perhaps it harkens back to some buried deep within my roots.
Growing up, I was proud of my family’s roots.
My mother is a genealogist, which basically means she researches our family ancestry. It’s not her job, but rather a hobby. As a child, it meant that we spent many a family vacation traipsing around through abandoned cemeteries looking for the headstone which marked the final resting spot of some long-dead ancestor.
But it also meant that I knew where I came from, how the past had affected me. The story of the Pilgrims was much more real once I knew I descended from two men who journeyed on that Mayflower crossing and survived that first harsh winter. I felt proud to know my ancestors were in Texas prior to Texas Independence, part of the only state in our nation to have once been a nation by itself.
And the over-arching thing I knew about my family as a whole was the strong roots of faith and the good names left behind.
In Proverbs 22:1 it is written, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.”
I’m am grateful for my ancestors … not because some of them originated in Ireland or passed down their beautiful green eyes. Rather, I’m blessed because they have left behind a good name simply because their lives, lived out so well on this earth, point heavenward to Jesus Christ.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. ~Deuteronomy 7:9