Skip to comments.Dec. 27 - St. John's Day (and Day III of Christmastide)
Posted on 12/27/2006 5:14:21 PM PST by sionnsar
The Feast of St. John is given high status in the Church by its placement within the Twelve Days of Christmastide. It is appropriate to celebrate his feast day close to our Lord's birthday, because of the closeness of St. John himself to our Lord. St. John was an Apostle and an Evangelist.
(Apostle=one of the 12 who were ordained and sent out by our Lord; Evangelist=one of the four writers of the Holy Gospel, or Good News about Jesus, contained in the New Testament.)
Along with James and Peter, John was part of the inner circle of disciples who witnessed the Transfiguration of our Lord and who also were present during his agony in the Garden of Gethsemanee. He and his brother James were given the nickname, "Sons of Thunder", by our Lord...perhaps a commentary on their bold temperament! (?)
The Collect for Saint John's Day from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer is as follows: "Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it, being illumined by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at lenth attain to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
The reference here to the "doctrine" of St. John is likely a reference to an idea that is central to both the Gospel according to St. John and the General Epistles of St. John, that Jesus Christ is the Word (greek, "Logos") of God, or the Divine Reason of God. This Word of God was present in the beginning, and by this Word of God the universe was brought into existence.
The joyful mystery celebrated by Christians at Christmastide, is that the Word (or Son) of God left the Glory of Heaven, and entered his own creation as a human baby, born of the Virgin Mary. This is also known as the Incarnation of our Lord, by which the Son of God also became Son of Man.
Here is the poignant conclusion of the Gospel according to Saint John, in which the author speaks directly to the reader in the first person: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."
Happy St. John's Day!
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