November 30, 2020

The Third Day of Christmas

St John the Evangelist. Giotto

Readings for the Day
The Feast of St. John

Exodus 33:18-23
Psalm 92
1 John 1:1-9
John 21:19b-24

Collect for the Day

Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light, that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Sonnet for the Feast of St. John

you thundered white and black and dark and light,
and yet they knew you for your fervent love.
a simple man yet strangely erudite
with eyes that saw dark visions from above,
you wrote in words that children understand,
yet masters cannot plumb the depths therein.
apocalyptic dreams and visions grand
somehow conjoined a tender soul within.
apostle of such contrasts, i can see
how shaken was your heart, your mind, your world!
you heard, you saw, you touched the mystery!
around you winds of spirit rushed and whirled!
i pray god please confound me like st. john
that i may know the holy ground i’m on!


  1. I think the average Joe spends his life stepping toward and then away, toward and then away from the crucifying effect of ‘touching the mystery’. It is only through atypical openness and endurance that our ‘saints’ go more toward than away and thus act as beacons in the night. John was one such.

  2. Love these 12 Days of Christmas readings.
    Thank you.

  3. Very nice; the poetry is just bite-sized enough for me. Love the early Renaissance art, too. So much resemblance to Byzantine iconography continuing.

    In the Eastern church, we have Liturgy to commemorate Mary as the Birthgiver of God (the Synaxis of the Theotokos) on the 26th, St Stephen on the 27th, and the Holy Innocents on the 29th. St John is 26 September for us.


    • ah, the Holy Innocents, yes . . . . . these very first Christian martyrs, so helpless, so small, so vulnerable to the evil done to them . . .

      “The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,
      And death squads spread their curse across the world.
      But every Herod dies, and comes alone
      To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.”
      (from a sonnet by Malcolm Guite)

      It is good that these little ones are remembered also at this season, as they were also foretold in the Old Testament in these words:
      ” . . . . A voice is heard in Ramah,
      mourning and great weeping,
      Rachel weeping for her children
      and refusing to be comforted,
      because they are no more.” (from the Book of Jeremiah 31:15)

      someday, I hope people will look at the children of refugees in the light of those who try to escape evil, as did the Holy Family who left Bethlehem and journeyed into Egypt . . . . . these children can be saved from harm if people will help them . . . they don’t have to perish, no . . . God have mercy . . .

  4. light like emptiness
    at the center of the snow
    swirling in the night