U.S. # 4813
2013 46¢ Holy Family
Each year, the story of Jesus’ birth and early life is retold during the Christmas season. The Magi, or Wise Men, had traveled a great distance to find the “King of the Jews.” They honored the child, born in a lowly stable, with expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But Herod, the ruler of Israel, worried about losing his throne to a potential rival, so he plotted to destroy Jesus.
Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, was warned of Herod’s plot in a dream and was instructed to take his family to Egypt, beyond the reach of the brutal king. The young family began the 200-mile journey immediately, not daring to wait until sunrise. The precious gifts from the Magi provided for the family’s needs during their flight into Egypt.
The Bible gives few specifics about the family’s trip, but traditional stories provide details. While they were traveling, Mary became hungry. Jesus commanded a palm tree to bend down so his mother could reach the dates growing on the tree. Another legend tells of idols, objects of worship, falling to the ground and breaking when Jesus passed by.
Churches now mark the locations where it is believed Jesus stayed, giving followers places to reflect on the Holy Family’s flight to safety.
Art director William Gicker, designer Greg Breeding, and artist Nancy Stahl worked together to create the artwork for this stamp, which pictures Joseph leading a donkey carrying Mary and baby Jesus under a shining star.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: October 11, 2013
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Method: Offset printing in sheets of 200 in 10 panes of 20
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 300,000,000 stamps
The first U.S. Christmas stamp was issued in 1962. Since then, there have been both religious and contemporary Christmas stamps issued each year. Most of the religious issues have pictured a classical version of the Madonna and Child. The U.S.P.S. decided to take a modern approach to the 2012 Holy Family stamp, inspired by the bible passage, “Out of Egypt I call my Son.” The 2012 stamp was so popular, it was reissued in 2013.