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.