"I guess he’s not playing the game…"

Two days ago was March, 17: St. Patrick’s Day. I sat in my office working diligently at my desk when a mother walked by with her young daughter, perhaps on the way to preschool or something. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the young girl look into my office and notice that I wasn’t wearing green on the day when everyone knows that anybody who is anybody wears green.

As they passed my office door, I could hear the girl say to her Mommy, “Mommy, why isn’t that man wearing green?!?” The mother responded, “Oh, I guess he’s not playing the game.”

Now, I’m sure Saint Patrick was a nice guy. I’m sure he did a lot of good for the world, or for leprechauns, or for somebody. It’s just that 12 years prior to this St. Patrick’s Day, I suddenly stopped giving two rips about Saint Patrick. And believe me, St. Patrick’s Day was always a pretty exciting day for me. I’ve even marched and played my trumpet in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. But 12 years ago, March 17 stopped being about green clovers, pots of gold, or little men in knickers. Why? Because my oldest daughter was born on March 17, 1997. And suddenly the traditions of a hollow holiday faded into nothing, and the day became about celebrating the birth of our daughter.

And I want the same to be true in my life of worship. Way too easily, what I tend to lean on are traditions and rituals and lose the focus of the relationship with God, my Creator. I can go about my everyday life with a sense of routine that leads me to feeling less than passionate about the love relationship with Jesus that He came to provide.

And I wish I had a nickel for every person who scolded me for not wearing green on March 17th. It’s simply because that day means something different to me.

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