Those television commentators who believe there is a government plot to take Christ out of Christmas should have been at 1525 H St. N.W., Washington, D.C., on Nov. 19.
That is the location of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House.
And that is were the United States Postal Service held a religiously inspired ceremony to dedicate its Christmas Magi forever stamp.
The ceremony, conducted by the Episcopal church and the Postal Service, was an unashamed Christmas service, filled with Christmas hymns, a Christmas message delivered by a senior postal official and prayers for postal workers offered by a military chaplain who works in the White House.
USPS board of governors member Louis J. Guiliano spoke about the Biblical scene that the stamp portrays — three wise men on camels seeking the new-born Christ child under a brilliantly lit star.
“The story of these three wise men emphasizes the importance of the Christmas message and hope and wonder it offers to all mankind,” Guiliano told the audience of about 250 who had braved Washington’s coldest morning of the fall to attend the stamp ceremony.
“We are pleased and excited that these stamps will decorate millions of greeting cards, letters and packages this year,” he said.
“And like the Christmas story and the story of the wise men, these stamps are good forever,” he added.
Guiliano, who dedicated the 2012 Christmas Holy Family stamp (Scott 4711), said he planned to use these stamps throughout the year.
He encouraged the audience to do the same.
The Postal Service had erected a small, heated tent in front of the church where clerks sold the stamps and applied first-day cancels to programs and envelopes.
Also participating in the program were the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon, the church’s rector; the Rev. Dr. Stan Fornea, the White House military office senior chaplain; and the St. John’s Choir.
The ceremony was free and open to the public.
Illustrator Nancy Stahl of New York City and Postal Service art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, Va., worked together on the designs of both the 2012 Holy Family forever stamp and this year’s Christmas Magi forever stamp.