On the occasion of Our Lord’s Nativity Feast, Romfilatelia marks this important event for Christianity through the postage stamps issue Christmas 2019.
The two stamps of the issue, both with the face value of Lei 1.70, reproduce images from the manuscript “Akathist Hymn of the Mother of God”, part of the patrimony of the Romanian Academy Library, which represent the miniatures “Our Lord’s Birth” and “Magi’s Star”.
From the same manuscript, the miniature “Adoration of the Magi” was reproduced on the First Day Cover of the issue, as well as the miniature “Madonna and Child” on the perforated souvenir sheet of the issue, with the face value of Lei 28.50.
Christmas marks a great celebration of Christianity and originates from the Latin word creatione (pronounced creacione). From creacione it became creacion, then creaciun and finally Craciun (Christmas).
On Christmas day, Jesus Christ was born, fulfilling the hope of the human nation waiting for the appearance of Messiah (the Anointed One who would become the Saviour of the nations).
The city of Bethlehem (beth-house, lehem-bread), situated 8 km south of Jerusalem, was chosen by God for the birth of Jesus.
The parents of Jesus were forced to come to this city to be reviewed at the place where the most distant ancestors originated from. As Mary and Joseph originated from the family of David, they went to the place where the house of Jesse and his son David had been.
After suffering the vicissitudes of the past centuries, between its stone walls an inn for poor people had been set up there, where Mary has not found any vacant places anymore, being forced to descend into the cave beneath the inn.
Above this cave, a monumental church was built at the expense of King Edward IV. The cave would be completely dark if it had not been lit by thousands of candles and bougles that never go out. On the floor there is a silver disk, mounted on a marble plate, on which the following inscription is engraved: Hic de Virgine Maria Iesus Christus natus est (Here, from the Virgin Mary was born Jesus Christ).
The magi about whom the Gospels speak about, coming from the East to worship the Savior, symbolize the worship of all living things. Tradition has even kept their names: Melchior, the old, who gifts gold, Gaspar, the young, who brings frankincense and Balthazar, the bearded one, who brings myrrh.
During their journey, the magi did not discover a star belonging to the astral system, but a star that marked the visible sign of celestial power. Apparently, it was a simple star, but its trajectory on the sky looked like a supernatural sign meant to lead them to the place of birth of the world Savior.
The gifts brought to the child Jesus in Bethlehem had well defined significations. The gold was brought in the way it is brought to a King with an infinite reign in a kingdom with eternal brightness. The myrrh was brought in the way it is brought to a human being as the symbol of Calvary and cruel death. Frankincense was offered to Him as it is offered to God. Gold symbolizes adoration and love, frankincense symbolizes the prayer, and the myrrh defines abnegation and mortification of sins. The gold is brought from Ophir, the frankincense is brought from Arabia, while the myrrh is brought from Ethiopia.
The magi, who put their golden crowns next to the manger in which the child Jesus was lying, symbolize the science that bowed to belief.
The guiding star, the existence of the magi and their presence to the place where Jesus was born define in a touching manner Christmas, the day when our Saviour was born, celebrated by Christians.
On the occasion of Christmas, the Romfilatelia team wholeheartedly wishes you Happy Holidays with your loved ones!
Romfilatelia would like to thank the Romanian Academy Library for their documentary and photographic support granted for the achievement of this postage stamp issue.