On Tuesday 8 November UK’s Royal Mail issued their Christmas Stamps for 2011. It is a delight to see Christmas stamps that are actually Christmas stamps. This year’s stamps celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

There’s just one problem: the second-class stamp has a picture of an angel with a dreaming Joseph. This is referenced on the stamp to Matthew 1:21. That, of course, is incorrect. The correct verse (in the 1611 King James version) is, of course, Matthew 1:20:

20. But while hee thought on these things, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared vnto him in a dreame, saying, Ioseph thou sonne of Dauid, feare not to take vnto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceiued in her, is of the holy Ghost.

[ps. for those interested in details, the quote given on the sheet from Luke 2:10 is from the 1769 revision of the King James Version, not from 1611]

Update 15 November: I appreciate it very much that Philip Parker, Head of Stamp Strategy, Royal Mail, replied that

The intention with our Christmas stamps this year was deliberately to reference Matthew 1:21.

This is what the angel actually says to Joseph where ‘Jesus’ is named and gives the importance of him coming into the world. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

That is why we also run the text – ‘Thou shalt call his name Jesus’ – up the side of the stamp books of 2nd class stamps.

Similar Posts: