If you call out the name “John” at any of my family’s gatherings, you’re likely to see more than a half dozen men turn around to respond.
“John” was my father’s name, the first name of both of my grandfathers, and the name also shared by several of my uncles, cousins, and plenty of my male ancestors. The English version derives from Latin, Greek, and originally, from Hebrew (meaning “YAHWEH is gracious”–see Behind the Name).
On December 27th, the Roman Catholic church celebrates the feast day of St. John the Apostle.
St. John: Photo from Catholic.org
John is a popular name thanks two significant figures from the New Testament (later saints): John the Baptist, and the apostle, John.
John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of James (also known as Saint James, the Greater). John, a fisherman, was a disciple of John the Baptist, and then a devoted follower of Jesus. He stood by Jesus at the foot of the cross, and upon hearing of Jesus’ Resurrection, John was the first of the apostles to reach the tomb. Before he died, Jesus appointed John the guardian of his mother, Mary. John is also known as: “Apostle of Charity; Beloved Apostle; Beloved Disciple; John the Divine.”
In addition to preaching, John is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and possibly the Book of Revelation. Therefore, it seems only fitting that he is the patron saint of writers, editors, typesetters, bookbinders, booksellers, Asia Minor, and more. It’s been noted in the Christian tradition that John was the only one of the original twelve apostles to live into old age and not be killed for his faith.
I think that it was fitting my father was named John. Although not much of a writer, Dad was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, and friend. He also had a deep faith in the Lord.
In celebrating the feast of St. John, I remember my father and other family members who were named for him.
Also, as a writer, I often turn to St. John for guidance. For example, I asked for his help so I could finish this post! :-)