30 October 2020
Christmas 2020 — The Story of the Nativity
Text: The Rt Revd PA Eagles
Design: Glazier Design
Process: Offset Lithography
Paper: 110 gms PVA gummed
Perforations: 13 per 2cms
Stamp Size: 32 x 26mm
No. of Stamps: 6
Format: Sheets of 25
Date of Issue: 30th October 2020
Six festive stamps to celebrate the story of the nativity
Isle of Man Post Office is very pleased to present our festive stamp set for Christmas 2020. This six stamp collection beautifully conveys the spirit of Christmas in a traditional manner, featuring scenes and artworks inspired by the story of the nativity.
The issue text for this collection has been written by Lord Bishop, The Rt Revd PA Eagles, Bishop of Sodor and Man who reflects on the struggles of the previous year. He says of the stamps ‘Let them remind us of blessings received throughout this difficult year. The light shines in the darkness, and, while it may flicker from time to time, it can never be extinguished or overcome’.
Lord Bishop, The Rt Revd PA Eagles, Bishop of Sodor and Man writes:
The year 2020 began with great promise. Not just was there the usual excitement of a New Year, but it was the beginning of a new decade, and a time for looking forward to new opportunities and discoveries. There were rumours of a virus that was emerging in Asia, but that seemed so far away, and, after all, is humanity not now an advanced civilisation that can effectively control its own destiny?
How different it looks as we move towards the end of the year. Far from shaping our own society as we wish, we have been forced, across the world, to adopt acute defensive measures that no-one had envisaged. Far from 2020 being a year of inter-connected human endeavour, it has turned out for many to be an experience of isolation and fearfulness, and for others a year of illness, bereavement, loss, and death. With this, there has come unemployment, economic hardship, and increased disparity between wealth and poverty. In many parts of our world, the poor have become much, much poorer, with this dreadful dispossessedness often exacerbated by human incompetence or natural disaster.
These are difficult words, but they are true, and around them lurk other issues of concern, especially the climate of our planet. But it is also in our human nature to look for good: good in one another, good in the world around. We may therefore wish, at the end of the year, to be grateful for many things in the life of our Island, and to acknowledge that we have been richly blessed. In facing our challenges, we have experienced sadness, and we mourn the loss of life in our own community, loss of life that circumstances did not allow us to mark as we would have wished; but we have also experienced warmth, the comfort and support of each other, and a renewed understanding of the relationships of empathy that shape a caring and compassionate society.
For all these reasons, it is particularly appropriate that our Post Office offers us Christmas Stamps that tell the story of the nativity. These are events rooted in the experience of poverty, injustice and political oppression, uncertainty, vulnerability, and hardship. It tells of a child born to everyday impoverished parents in a dark, cold world where nothing could be taken for granted. In describing a small family on the edge of the unknown, the story of the nativity encapsulates the concerns of so many in our world today, and yet it also points towards light and hope: not without challenge and struggle, to be sure, but light and hope that can be a sign of new life and new beginnings. These Christmas Stamps invite us to draw that light and hope into our own lives, and to allow them to dispel darkness and sorrow. Let them remind us of blessings received throughout this difficult year. The light shines in the darkness, and, while it may flicker from time to time, it can never be extinguished or overcome.
First Day Cover:
Published on 27 October 2020 by Isle of Man Post:
Isle of Man Post Office Issues The Story of the Nativity on Christmas Stamps 2020
6 Stamps Share a Collection of Beautifully Presented Artworks Depicting the Religious Story of the Nativity
This year’s Isle of Man Post Office Christmas stamps, issued on 30 October, feature scenes and artworks inspired by the story of the Nativity.
2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral Isle of Man. It is the cathedral church of the Church of England Diocese of Sodor and Man and was made a cathedral by Act of Tynwald in 1980. To commemorate this anniversary the Right Reverend Peter Eagles, Bishop of Sodor and Man kindly provided the issue text for this beautiful stamp collection.
Issue Text Author the Rt Revd PA Eagles, Bishop of Sodor and Man, said: “These delightful Christmas stamps point to light and hope. The angel speaks of God’s presence in the world, and the simple shepherds are drawn to God’s light and love. Three Kings worship, representing the nations of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the Mother cradles the Child in profoundest love. The eternal message of Christmas speaks to us today in these six beautiful designs.”
Nigel Godfrey, Dean of Cathedral Isle of Man, said: ‘”t is good to have a stamp issue released on the 40th birthday of the Island’s Cathedral. The Cathedral was actually built a 100 years earlier to replace the ruined one on St Patrick’s Isle, but the driving force behind it – Bishop Rowley Hill died in office before the necessary legislation was passed by Tynwald, so it simply remained a parish church. The Cathedral as the ‘seat’ of the Bishop aims to offer the daily round of worship to God and serve the needs of our ever changing world.”
Maxine Cannon, General Manager Isle of Man Stamps & Coins, said: “Christmas stamps help deliver festive messages of good cheer and celebration across the Island, the UK and around the world. This year’s stamps feature scenes from the Nativity. They are intended to remind us of blessings received throughout this difficult year and to give us a bit of tradition during these uncertain times.”
‘The Story of the Nativity’ collection is available as a Set and Sheet Set, Presentation Pack and First Day Cover. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cathedral Isle of Man there will be a limited edition philatelic numismatic cover (PNC) featuring a £5 Peace Coin along with the stamps and photography of the Cathedral provided by Simon Park. The stamps will also be available as variable value self-adhesives (VVD). These will be vended via our retail kiosks, post office counter network and via hand-held vending machines at one-off events such as stamp exhibitions. For further information, please visit www.iompost.com/nativity.