The Nativity of Our Lord — Christmas Day
496 King Clovis (ca. 466–511), who united Gaul and founded France, was baptized in the Cathedral of Rheims followed by 3,000 of his soldiers.
795 Adrian I, longest reigning pope of the first millennium up to his time, died in Rome.
800 Charlemagne (742 or 747–814) was crowned emperor of the Romans (Holy Roman Emperor) by Pope Leo III at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle).
1521 Andreas Karlstadt (1486–1541), pastor of the Wittenberg city parish church, gave Communion in German and allowed the
laity to take the bread and wine in their hands.
1523 “All Praise to Thee, Eternal God” was published for Christmas.
1525 The first completely German mass was held in Wittenberg.
1583 Orlando Gibbons, organist and composer, was born at Cambridge, England (d. 5 June 1625). He used only English in the text of his music.
1624 Johann Scheffler, known as Angelus Silesius, hymnist, was baptized in Breslau, Silesia (d. 9 July 1677).
1642 English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton was born (d. 31 March 1727). Deeply interested in religion throughout his life, Newton (known especially for formulating the laws of gravitation) acknowledged Jesus as Savior of the world but not as God incarnate.
1723 The German Baptists (the Dunkards) held their first immersion service in America at Germantown, Pennsylvania.
1734 Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio was first performed in Leipzig.
1739 Joseph Humphreys (b. 28 October 1720), hymnist, was expelled from seminary for following the teachings of George Whitefield and the Wesleys.
1745 “Christians, Awake, Salute the Happy Morn” was written as a Christmas present by John Byrom for his daughter Dolly.
1745 Johann E. Schmidt, hymnist, died at Siebleben, near Gotha (b. 12 January 1670, Hohenfelden, near Erfurt). He was educated at Jena, Erfurt and Leipzig. He became curate in 1697 then pastor at Siebleben, near Gotha. [The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, comp. W. G. Polack (Saint Louis: CPH, 1942): 574]
1762 Martin Boos, German Roman Catholic theologian, was born at Huttenried, Bavaria (d. 29 August 1825).
1766 Christmas Evans, Welsh Baptist preacher, was born near Cardigan, Wales (d. 19 July 1838).
1821 Clara (Clarissa Harlowe) Barton, American humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross, was born in Oxford, Massachusetts (d. 12 April 1912).
1836 Michael Wolf Hamma, president of the General Synod from 1897 to 1899, was born in Richland County, Ohio (d. June 3, 1913).
1853 Justin Edwards Abbott, Presbyterian missionary to India, was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire (d. 1932).
1865 Evangeline Cory Booth, English social reformer and fourth general of The Salvation Army, was born in London, England (d. 17 July 1950).
1868 “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem” was first sung.
1884 Friedrich Joseph Josenhans, inspector of the Basel Mission Society, died at Leonberg (b. 1812, Stuttgart).
1895 Oscar E. Feucht was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (d. 19 June 1982). After attending Concordia College (Fort Wayne), he graduated from Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) in 1920. The seminary also bestowed on him an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1955. He served as pastor to four parishes in Morgan County, Tennessee, from 1920 to 1925. From 1925 to 1945 he was the pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church (Kansas City, Missouri). In 1946 he was appointed Secretary of Adult Education for the Missouri Synod Board of Parish Education. He was the author of Everyone a Minister (1974).
1918 J. (John) Wilbur Chapman (b. 17 June 1859), American Presbyterian evangelist, died.
1931 Missionary radio station HCJB, located in Quito, Ecuador, under the World Radio Missionary Fellowship, Inc., first began broadcasting the Gospel to the nations of Eastern Asia.
1950 The Lutheran Hour began in Beirut, Lebanon.
1973 Theodore Gerhardt Tappert, professor of church history at Lutheran Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), died (b. 5 May 1904, Meriden, Connecticut).
1982 Edward Julius Friedrich, superintendent at the Lutheran Sanatorium in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and executive director of the Wheat Ridge Foundation, died (b. 19 May 1889). He served at the sanatorium, which later became Lutheran Medical Center, from 1940 to retirement in 1958. Though blind for thirty years, he taught Bible classes and preached until June 1982, when he was critically injured in an auto accident. Friedrich taught at Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) from 1930 to 1940. He had also served as a vice-president of the Missouri Synod and as president of the Colorado District.