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THE FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD


The first Christmas card ever produced had its own disturbing qualitites. It was designed by an English artist named John Calcott Horsley in 1843, after he was commissioned for the task by Sir Henry Cole, a businessman from Bath, England. There were 1,000 of the original cards which were 3 by 5 inches, and they sold for one shilling each — an average man’s weekly wage — which meant they were only bought by the wealthy. Only 12 of the original cards still exist, and one was recently sold for £20,000. But many found the pictures on the card disturbing. In the center is a well dressed Victorian family, perhaps that of Sir Henry, is sitting down to a Christmas feast toasting each other. But on each side of the center picture are two very different scenes. On the left is a scene of the hungry being fed, and on the right is a picture of the poor being clothed. The Puritans denounced it because the family was drinking and living in opulence, and the wealthy were put off by it because it had the poor taste of reminding them of the destitute people who lived all around them who were in need of their aid.


Jesus described his own mission with these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

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