Christmas

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.
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December 12, 1189: King Richard I "the Lion Hearted" leaves England on the Third Crusade to retake Jerusalem, which had fallen to Muslim general Saladin in 1187 (see issue 40: The Crusades).

December 12, 1582: Spanish General Fernando Alvarez de Toledo (also known as the Duke of Alva) dies. The duke had been sent, along with 10,000 troops, by King Philip II of Spain to quell the Reformation in Holland. The duke's "Council of Blood" was responsible for some 18,000 deaths.

December 12, 1667: The Council ...

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