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Dec. 24 in Christian History

Dec 24, 2010 01:01 PM EST

1784 - Methodism was officially organized in the newly-independent United States of America, in Baltimore. Francis Asbury was consecrated the first Methodist bishop, a few days later.


1818 - In St. Nicholas Church at Oberndorf, Austria, church organist Franz Gruber, 31, composed a melody on guitar for the poem, "Stille Nacht," written earlier by pastor Joseph Mohr, 26. This evening the world heard "Silent Night" sung for the very first time.


1871 - The Northside Tabernacle in Chicago was dedicated by evangelist Dwight L. Moody. It became the original structure of what is today the Moody Memorial Church.


1943 - German theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letter from prison: 'Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.'


1951 - "Amahl and the Night Visitors," a Christmas musical, had its TV debut. Written by composer Gian Carlo Menotti, it was the first musical to be broadcast over television.


© 1987-2010, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church