St John and the Third Day of Christmas

Of all the Christmas feasts which follow thick and fast after the Nativity of Our Lord, I think I like St John’s best. He is the most poetic of the evangelists: a man who had learned ‘how to bear the beames of love’ and who reflects the beautiful light of the Word made flesh as stars reflect the light of the sun. But there is more to John than beauty. There is grace and truth, again reflecting the grace and truth of the Word, and there is strength.

Truth needs strength otherwise it easily becomes something less — mere criticism, perhaps, or the kind of grumbling that achieves nothing except to make both grumbler and audience weary. St John is the most mystical of the evangelists not because he wrote beautifully, or because he reflected the grace and truth of the Word made flesh, but because he he was strong — strong in faith and love. It enabled him to see what others could only guess at, gave him the courage to explore what others might shy away from, kept him at the foot of the cross when he was tempted to run away. He was a true contemplative.

Today, the old carol has us singing of ‘three gold rings’, a symbol of the Blessed Trinity into whose life we are drawn through the gift of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. St John understood the gift to the Beloved and celebrated it with every fibre of his being, as a contemplative must. May we do likewise.


7 thoughts on “St John and the Third Day of Christmas”

  1. Given that John was Jesus’cousin he was perhaps in a privileged position in regard to knowing Jesus quite intimately. We don’t know much about his upbringing, from his birth too his first appearance preaching and pointing towards Jesus as Messiah, but we might extrapolate that they must have met occasionally during their respective childhoods. It’s obvious that Mary was close to Elizabeth, John’s mother as she went to stay with her before Jesus’ birth.

    We can wonder about the conversations that they might have had together, the debates, the shared learning and development – the mutual sharing of God’s grace.

    What a wonderful privilege to have been given. Sharing Jesus’ childhood, knowing him from a tender age, and going on to sign post his ministry for all of the people of Judea.

    John gives us an example of a simple, prophetic witness to God, which had great power and authority. If only we could all witness in the same way – what a wonderful world it would be.

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