Sending Christmas cards first appeared in 1843. By 1860, it had become a custom.
Our family has sent them since our children were small. We outlined Christmas cookie cutters and let the kids color them, while we parents wrote a verse or message about the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior.
We created a little newspaper format card you might enjoy. We call it The Bethlehem Star.
The Bethlehem Star
Tax Hike in the Works
By C. Zar
Rome is working on a massive tax program. Although in its infant stages, it is proving to be a major source of agitation to the people of Israel. The entire Roman world is being summoned for enrollment in order that a more accurate taxation system may be put into effect.
Enrollment will be carried out in stages, the first of which is already in progress. This mandatory enrollment lists men according to their birthplaces. Even now people are making pilgrimages to their hometowns.
Our little town of Bethlehem is no exception. Local inns have been touting their “No Vacancy” signs for several days. At least for the time being, what’s good for Caesar is good for business.
Local Shepherds Quake
By Evan Lee Host
“Strange sights during the night in them thar hills outside of Bethlehem,” say local shepherds. While keeping watch over their lambing flocks, the shepherds’ silent night was interrupted by messengers of heavenly magnitude.
All the shepherds agreed that the whole landscape was lit up with radiant beams as a multitude of angels sang, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” The Herald angel addressed the shepherds. He named Bethlehem as the Savior’s birthplace.
Reported one witness, “I froze in my tracks at the sight.”
Several told The Bethlehem Star, “We were so scared that we tried to hide – but the light was overpowering. There was no place to run. The angel tried to calm us down and said he had good news for us. It all happened so fast – and soon the blackness of night crowded in on us again.”
This could mean that there are good tidings in these strange heavenly sightings. Perhaps Bethlehem has been the chosen site of revealing something special.
Jerusalem in an Uproar
By I. Ben Visited
Last week, Jerusalem was the scene of some disturbances. Astrologers, or Magi, from the East visited King Herod. They reported that they had seen the star of the new King of the Jews.
When King Herod heard this, he consulted with the chief priests and teachers of the law. These illustrious members of Jerusalem society informed him that according to the prophet, Micah, the Christ’s birthplace is Bethlehem in Judea. This is our same Bethlehem that is approximately six miles south of Jerusalem.
Bethlehem is a small town. Many of our inhabitants make their living as shepherds outside of the city. It hardly seems the kind of town in which a king would be born even though our great King David came from here.
The night after the Magi met with King Herod, they left with his strict orders to find the Child. King Herod expected them to report back to him with information of the Child’s precise whereabouts. For two days the King has waited the Magi’s return. However, there has been no trace of them.
Today, Herod clearly vented his great anger. In the wake of the Magi’s presumed compliance, trickery is now suspected; disobedience to the king’s orders and flight to their homes by another route.
New Publishers Group
By Ima Shepherd
For the past two days, Bethlehem has been overrun by shepherds. All of them seem to be headed to the stable at Jethro’s Inn. I caught up with one yesterday who said, “I have never seen anyone like Him. He seems to be able to look right into my soul. His eyes look much older than the few days old He really is.” This man claimed that the Child of whom he spoke was the promised Messiah of Israel.
Since the beginning of this influx of shepherds, they have been going through the streets publishing the news, “The Messiah has been born! Praise be to the God of Abraham!”
Many of the townspeople, spurred on by these exclamations, have also visited the stable. Almost every one of them has come out looking more peaceful and full of joy than they were when they went in.
Even if this Child is not the One who will free us from Roman dominion, He has affected the people of Bethlehem to the greater good of all.