The Ides of Suspicion

The ides of March are upon us and superstitions of March 15th run rampant across many nations. Thank you, Julius Caesar, for suggesting this as a bad luck day… or is it really superstitious? Senators assassinated this “dictator for life,” on the steps of the Curia of Pompey for in 44 B.C., Romans had no love for kings. Since Caesar’s death, March has a notorious history of haunting generation after generation, especially in the political arena.

The assassination of Julius Caesar

On March 15, 1917, Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate his throne just four days before the February Revolution in Russia. Also on this day in 1944, King Louis XV of France declared war on Britain. In the United States, ironically, our Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff appear to favor the month of March for military operations too. The US dispatched ground troops to Vietnam on March 8, 1965, starting the beginning of the Vietnam War. In fact, March 15, 1972, was considered one of the heaviest days of attacks during this conflict; the US destroyed a major North Vietnamese camp and thirty troops. The war on Iraq was launched on March 20, 2003. A covert war on Syria began March 15, 2011, while NATO began relentlessly bombing Libya just four days later. On the date of March 19, 2003, the United States launched an attack against Iraq to topple dictator Saddam Hussein from power.

Other significant non-war related incidents which occurred in March was the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles on March 15, 1991; the Boston Massacre which began March 5, 1770, and Texas’s Fort Alamo fell to Mexican troops on March 6, 1836. Remember the stories of the Great Blizzard of 1888 which struck the northeastern United States? The storm happened on March 12th dumping over 40 inches of snow and causing four hundred deaths. As fate dictates for the ides of March, the newly elected President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest while walking toward his limousine in Washington, D.C. It was the 30th of March in 1981.

Proverbs 3:25-36

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being snared.

Another oddity is some states will not hold elections on the 15th of March. But in a couple of weeks, on Super Tuesday, five states are having mid-term polls, now considered a “bad luck day” by both opponents.

The ides (division) of March – superstition or valid? I know superstitions are not based on a godly belief system. They are created by people embracing the supernatural. Only God is omniscient-all knowing. We are to be holy in our relationship with God, not falling into false beliefs and practices. Yes, it seems many nations, including the United States, has a history of horrible events which occurred in March; perhaps it’s just coincidental. Ultimately, our great Father is in control of all situations so let us pray for all our nations today.

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Birth of the Christmas Greeting Card

Birth of the Christmas Greeting Card cover

It’s the mid-1800s in the United Kingdom, and Sir Henry Cole had a remarkable idea to share “Good Tidings” among his friends. His friend, John Horsley, was the artist who designed that very first Christmas greeting card for him. He designed approximately one thousand cards to be given to special friends and family. The very first creation by him was not liked by many because it showed a child being given a glass of wine. But the idea progressed despite an even bigger problem – how he would get them to all his recipients?

Birth of the Christmas Greeting Card Pic 1

Image of John Horsley’s first Christmas postcard

Though delivering a package was costly, and the poor could never afford such an expense, Sir Henry created a “Penny Post” in town for folks to drop off their cards, thus, the creation of the post office. So, for about a Penny stamp, “Robin Postmen” (in tribute to the bird) distributed their mail for the holidays, even on Christmas day. As this tradition spread in 1860, Christmas cards were mass produced, and the postage dropped to a half-penny.

Birth of the Christmas Greeting Card Pic 2

Courtesy of United States Catalogue

The original cards were colorful with pictures of children caroling or nativity scenes. Some cards were decorated with snow scenes and red robin birds. This tradition expanded to America in 1849 as adopted by Louis Prang. He was a German immigrant that grew up in the printing business. He started the fad of Christmas cards in the United States.

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Louis Prang, courtesy of New York Historical Society

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The first known ‘personalized’ Christmas Card was sent in 1891 by the famous sharpshooter, Annie Oakley.

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First known Victorian Christmas card

In 1915, a poor, high school dropout named Joyce C. Hall gathered postcards and sold them to drugstores, bookstores and gift shops in Kansas City, Missouri. He soon realized what a lucrative business Christmas postcards was, so he purchased an engraving firm and mass produced the greeting cards in our country. This man was the founding father of the infamous company we’ve learned to count on for the holiday season – the original creator of Hallmark cards!

Birth of the Christmas Greeting Card Pic 6

I find it very interesting that the Christmas card industry gave birth to the post office. Who would have thought, much less in the UK?

Enjoy the song, “An Old Christmas Card”:

I hope as we pray for peace and joy this holiday season, God fills your heart with good tidings and cheer! Today, it doesn’t cost a cent to share those feelings with others. Have a wonderful love-filled Christmas!

Please join us again on Sunday for another, Everything Christmas Blog!

 


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