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Christian History

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.

July 24, 1725: John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace" and other hymns, is born in London. Converted to Christianity while working on a slave ship, he hoped as a Christian to restrain the worst excesses of the slave trade, "promoting the life of God in the soul" of both his crew and his African cargo. In 1764 he became an Anglican minister and each week wrote a hymn to be sung to a familiar tune. In 1787 Newton wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade to help William Wilberforce's campaign to ...

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