June 24: St. John’s Day

John the Baptist by Mathis Gothart GrünewaldJune 24 is celebrated as St. John’s Day. To be more specific, that’s St. John the Baptist’s Day, but it’s usually known simply as St. John’s Day. In yesterday’s post I mentioned several of the traditions associated with St. John’s Eve, but St. John’s Day tends to be more of a celebration of the man.

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, born less than a year before he was to an elderly couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who had never had children. John was no ordinary guy. In fact, he moved to the wilderness, wore camel’s hair clothing, and ate locusts and honey. He was a fiery preacher, calling a group of Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 3:7), and continuing:

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:11-12


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