Not all your friends and family use computers and emails. Some appreciate a card or personal letter in the mail because many short emails just do not relate well.
So, you should look at the excellent 2012 Holiday postage stamps at www.usps.gov, or the Post Office’s nice brochure sent to all of us a few weeks ago. For 45 cents you can acquire a work of art to decorate your letter or card – and it’s a Forever stamp useful in 2013 when the rates go up. Whether you choose secular or religious themes, there are many beautiful stamps to choose from.
“Santa and Sleigh” with eight reindeer over a snow covered town is depicted in a set of four stamps, so you have variety for your letters and cards. “Holiday Baubles” are also a set of four stamps displaying very colorful tree ornaments.
Celebrations of faith and culture that usually occur around the December 25 holiday period are reflected in these 2012 stamps: “Hanukkah,” “Kwanzaa,” “Holy Family,” and “Madonna of the Candelabra.”
The “Hanukkah” stamp, according to the USPS description: “with 8 colorful shapes and the silhouette of a dreidel, this stamp captures the joyous spirit of the Hanukkah festival…and symbolizes the 8 days and nights of the Hanukkah celebration.”
The “Kwanzaa” stamp, according to the USPS description: “celebrates this holiday that takes place over 7 days beginning each year on Dec. 26 and ending Jan. 1… intended as a celebration of seven principles… prevalent in African culture.”
The “Holy Family” stamp has spectacular colors and is a creative portrait of the flight to Egypt of the Holy Family. I have found it to be an amazing artwork portraying Joseph as he leads a donkey which carries Mary as she holds her baby Jesus. The background depicts a gorgeous early morning sunrise with golden clouds and a breathtaking scene of the desert lands as the family escapes from Bethlehem to go south into Egypt. The travelers are almost silhouetted in a deep royal purple tint – a reflection of the western sky. This stamp is a modern American design by “art director William J. Gicker, designer Greg Breeding, and artist Nancy Stahl.”
There is a marvelous balance of color hues that infuse great meaning to this scene which visually represents Matthew’s Biblical short account of the Holy Family’s escape. Warned by an angel, they immediately left that night with little food or water, fleeing from the murderous wrath of King Herod.
What is not described in the Bible is the appearance of the brilliant white star on the right of the stamp whose light shines on a village next to the sea in the distance. It apparently guides only this family into Egypt. Since they did not know the back roads required to escape undetected, it is plausible that they sought this guidance from God. Is it the same star that led the Magi to Bethlehem?
Here is my interpretation of the star that has eight symmetric beams of light: The two brighter horizontal and vertical beams of light have the appearance of a cross, perhaps a sign of the future death of Jesus for mankind. Meanwhile, the four angular light beams emanating from the center predict Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
If you carefully look at the stamp, you may find it is really like a prayer of hope for the peace of Israel, Egypt, the other countries of the modern Middle East, as well as refugees and immigrants everywhere. Here are three refugees successfully escaping from tyranny.
The religious-related Christmas stamps we all purchased in recent years were from the works of art of Renaissance painters of centuries ago. This year’s “Madonna of the Candelabra” by Raphael is another example.
You can see more of the art detail of all these stamps and appreciate their beauty by viewing it at the US Postal Service web site: www.USPS.gov. You will be witnessing an artwork of great beauty, color, and meaning - a story to share. All this in a 45 cent Forever®) stamp -enjoy.
By the way, there has been a glut of misleading information on the Internet that the “EID” stamp is a “new Muslim Christmas” stamp of the current administration and post office.” Obviously, that statement is false at face value as Muslim followers of Islam do not celebrate the Christian Christmas. The stamp was issued 12 years ago under the Bush Presidency, and re-issued each year to depict two festivals of that faith, usually celebrated in November and December. The website www.scopes.com exposes the erroneous claims of such emails from biased or bigoted originators. So, don’t fall for that lie. Let’s continue to defend America’s freedoms of religion and speech.
The U.S. Post Office also has issued many new stamps regarding our U.S. and state flags and other patriotic themes which you may want to use and are found at their USPS.gov web site as well.