Some Of Our Christmas Cards Have Additional Narrative On The Back

This narrative was more than we wanted to place on the main page, so we are adding it here.

5.) –  Magi from East –  Inside: May the light of Christ bring everlasting joy to you and those you love. … Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2) (Angel Ginn)

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During the reign of Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star and have come to worship him.” When Herod heard this he was disturbed and asked the chief priests where Christ was to be born.

“In Bethlehem,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'” Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

The Magi went on, and the star went ahead of them until it stopped over the child. They saw the child with his mother Mary, and they worshipped him. Then they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

6.) –  Christmas Blossoms – Inside: May Christ’s love bloom in your heart at Christmas and always. (Angel Ginn)

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According to legend, a poor girl named Pepita had no gift for the Christ child on Christmas Eve. Sensing her sadness at this, her cousin Pedro urged her to offer a humble, but sincere gift. So while walking to the chapel she gathered some weeds into a bouquet. As she knelt at the foot of the crèche to offer the humble bouquet, Pepita was suddenly overcome with great joy and the weeds miraculously burst into brilliant color. Then, the weeds were known as Flores de Noche Buena – Flowers of the Holy Night. Now, they are known as poinsettias.

Long ago Franciscan priests near Taxco in southern Mexico noticed these brilliantly colorful plants that bloomed during the Christmas season. The priests used the plants in nativity processions and the poinsettia came to represent the blood of Christ to Christians. Today, the poinsettia is a traditional symbol of Christmas.

7.) –  Holy Night  Inside: May the blessings of the holy family be with you at Christmastide and throughout the New Year. (Angel Ginn)

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Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census be taken of the entire Roman world. So everyone went to his own town to register. Joseph went to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

10.) – Nativity of Christ  Inside: And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7) (Peter Wilke)

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“What shall we offer you O Christ, who for our sake has appeared on earth as man? Every creature made by you offers you thanks. The angels offer you a hymn; the heavens, a star; the Magi, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder; the earth, its cave; the wilderness, the manger; and we offer you a virgin mother.” -From a Prayer for the Orthodox Christmas Vespers Service.

The task of iconography is to express the theological and spiritual content of revelation in a summary fashion through images. This is true of the Icon of the Nativity. The Nativity Icon is in sharp contrast to the sentimental imagery often used to depict the birth of Christ. In the Icon there is no charming Bethlehem bathed in the light of the nativity star but only a rugged mountain with a few plants. The austere mountain suggests a hard, unwelcoming world in which survival is a real battle – the world since our expulsion from Paradise.

The most prominent figure in the Icon is Mary. Orthodox Christians call Her the Theotokos: Godbearer, or Mother of God. Her quiet but wholehearted assent to the invitation brought to Her by the Archangel Gabriel has led Her to Bethlehem, making the cave at the edge of a peasant village the center of the universe. He who was distant has come near, first filling Her body, now visible in the flesh.

Christ’s body is wrapped “in swaddling clothes.” In Icons of Christ’s burial, you see He is wearing similar bands of cloth. In the Nativity Icon, the manger looks much like a coffin. In this way the Icon links birth and death. The poet Rilke says we bear our death within us from the moment of birth. The Icon of the Nativity says the same. Our life is one piece and its length is of much less importance than its purity and truthfulness.

The figures of Mary and Christ are at the heart of the Icon. Mary fulfilling Eve’s destiny, has given birth to Jesus Christ, a child who is God incarnate, a child in whom each of us finds our true self, a child who is the measure of all things.

11.) – Mary with Child  Inside: May your heart rejoice in the greatest gift of all this Christmas season. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23)  (Ruth Sanderson)

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Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and name him Jesus. He will be called Son of the Most High, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. So all went to be enrolled. And Joseph too went to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David, to be enrolled with Mary, who was with child. While they were there, she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds keeping the night watch. The angel of the Lord appeared and said, “I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to see this thing that has taken place.” So they went and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them. All who heard it were amazed. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

When Jesus was born, magi from the east arrived, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Jesus grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

13.) – Adoration Magi  Inside: … Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2) (Fr. John Giuliani)

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Traditional iconography gives witness to the human face of the Sacred. This icon, imaged in the features of America’s indigenous peoples, reveals anew that sacred power. It celebrates the soul of the Native American as the original spiritual presence on this continent, and as a prophetic sign, it celebrates the reconciliation of the spiritual vision of Native and Christian peoples of this land.

15.) – Guatemalan Nativity – Inside: Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14) (Fr. John Giuliani)

******The following is printed on the back:

Traditional iconography gives witness to the human face of the Sacred. This icon, imaged in the features of America’s indigenous peoples, reveals anew that sacred power. It celebrates the soul of the Native American as the original spiritual presence on this continent, and as a prophetic sign, it celebrates the reconciliation of the spiritual vision of Native and Christian peoples of this land.

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