One of the most important holidays on the Christian calendar, Christmas is also the most controversial. The so-called "Christmas Wars" garner headlines every year for battles over manger scenes and the use of "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" (and other seasonal greetings). But Christmas is also a time for theological and spiritual reflection on important foundations of the Christian faith, including the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth.
September 22, 1566: Johann Agricola (b. 1494), German theologian and reformer, dies. He became a friend of Martin Luther in 1519, though after 1540 the relationship deteriorated over the issue of the authority of Mosaic Law in believers' and nonbelievers' lives (see issue 39: Luther's Later Years).
September 22, 1692: Puritan magistrates hang the last 8 of 20 condemned witches are hanged in Salem, Massachusetts (see issue 41: The American Puritans).