04 November 2020
Kilihimahi / Christmas 2020
Date of issue: 4 November 2020
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Denominations: 45c, $1.40, $2.00 & $3.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Cam Price, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer: Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post, Whanganui, New Zealand
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Special blocks: Plate blocks and value blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet.
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 3 November 2021.
Combining traditional motifs, the green and blue hues of the Pacific ocean and the beauty of Tokelau’s natural surroundings, the elements of these beautiful stamps tell the Christmas story while capturing the vibrant environment and traditions of Tokelau.
0.45 Angel Gabriel
In the Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (Hebrew: גַּבְרִיאֵל Gaḇrīʾēl, ‘God is my Strength’) is an archangel, first described in the Hebrew Bible where Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his visions (Daniel 8:15–26, 9:21–27). The archangel also appears in the Book of Enoch and other ancient Jewish writings. Alongside archangel Michael, Gabriel is described as the guardian angel of Israel, defending its people against the angels of the other nations.
The Gospel of Luke relates the stories of the Annunciation, in which the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and the Virgin Mary, foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively (Luke 1:11–38). Many Christian traditions — including Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism — revere Gabriel as a saint.
Islam regards Gabriel (جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل, Jibrāʾīl) as an archangel sent by God to various prophets, including Muhammad. The first five verses of the Al-Alaq, the 96th chapter of the Quran, is believed by Muslims to have been the first verses revealed by Jibreel to Muhammad.
The Latter Day Saints hold that the angel Gabriel is the same individual as the prophet Noah in his mortal ministry. Yazidis consider Gabriel one of the Seven Mysteries, the heptad to which God entrusted the world and sometimes identified with Melek Taus. According to the ancient Gnostic manuscript, the Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit, Gabriel is a divine being and inhabitant of the Pleroma who existed prior to the Demiurge.
1.40 Manger of Jesus
A manger or trough is a rack for fodder, or a structure or feeder used to hold food for animals. The word comes from the Old French mangier (meaning “to eat”), from Latin mandere (meaning “to chew”). Mangers are mostly used in livestock raising and generally found at stables and farmhouses. They are also used to feed wild animals, e.g., in nature reserves. A similar trough providing drinking water for domestic or non-domestic animals is a watering trough and may be part of a larger watering structure called abreuvoir.
A manger is also a Christian symbol, associated with nativity scenes where Mary and Joseph, forced by necessity to stay in a room for animals instead of a guest room, used a manger as a makeshift crib for the Baby Jesus. (Greek: φατνη phatnē; Luke 2:7).
Luke is the only writer in the Bible to use the word manger in the New Testament. What he does with this one word — what God does with this one feeding trough — is enough to make us leap for joy.
Luke uses it in Luke 13:15:
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?”
In the most famous Christmas paragraphs in the Bible, Luke rivets our attention on the manger three times.
“She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
“They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:16)
2.00 The Shepherds
The New Testament begins with the four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These four books tell us about the arrival of the Messiah who is Jesus the Christ. Of these four books, just one takes us through the scene of Jesus’ birth.
Matthew gives us only Jesus’ genealogy, John tells us of Jesus’ deity (the Word became flesh), and Mark skips to Jesus as an adult. It is only in the book of Luke that we are ushered into the holy moments surrounding Jesus’ birth, and that includes the shepherds.
We don’t know who they were by name, nor how many there were. There are conflicting articles about their social status but it’s clear that God saw them as important.
Here are the few facts we know:
- They were the first to be told; They were busy doing what they always do.
- They saw and heard the angel of the Lord; They were afraid at first.
- They saw and heard the host of angels praising God.
- They believed the angel of the Lord and went to see Jesus — with haste.
- They were the first evangelists; They saw Jesus long before the wise men. He was less than a-week-old in the manger.
3.00 The Three Wise Men
After Jesus was born, Wise Men came to look for Him, probably from an area which is now in either Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Yemen, or an area in what’s now southern Turkey, northern Syria. Although they are often called the ‘Three Kings’, the Bible does not say how many there were, or that they were kings. One theory is that they might have been Kings of the Yemen, as during this time the Kings of Yemen were Jews. Three is only a guess because they brought with them three gifts: but however many there were of them, they probably would have had many more servants with them.
They were certainly men of great learning. The word Magi comes from the greek word magos (where the English word ‘magic’ comes from). Magos itself comes from the old Persian word Magupati. This was the title given to priests in a sect of the ancient Persian religions such as Zoroastrianism. Today we would call them astrologers. Back then astronomy and astrology were part of the same overall studies (and ‘science’) and went hand in hand with each other. The magi would have followed the patterns of the stars religiously. They would have also probably been very rich and held high esteem in their own society and by people who weren’t from their country or religion.
They had seen an unusual new star in the sky, and knew that it told of the birth of a special king in Israel. No one really knows what the new star in the sky was, and there are many theories including comets, supernovas, a conjunctions of planets or something supernatural. The Magi would have known about the prophecies of a special Jewish Savior (also known as the Messiah) from when the Jews had been held captive in ancient Babylon several hundred years before.
Legends are told about them and they have been given names. This is how they are often described:
- Gaspar (or Caspar), who has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) and wears a green cloak and a gold crown with green jewels on it. He is the King of Sheba. Gaspar represents the Frankincense brought to Jesus.
- Melchior, who has long white hair and a white beard and wears a gold cloak. He is the King of Arabia. Melchior represents the Gold brought to Jesus.
- Balthazar, who has black skin and a black beard (or no beard!) and wears a purple cloak. He is the King of Tarse and Egypt. Balthazar represents the gift of Myrrh that was brought to Jesus.