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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Repeat THE Sounding JOY


“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  Psalm 16:11

“Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” Psalm 17:5

As we travel down the path of life the Lord will make the path very clear. The path of life is to do what is right. You know you are on the right path by the peace that comes as you choose to do what is right. Sin draws you away from God’s presence, when you continue in sin you will feel farther and farther away from Him. It feels like being lost and all alone; far away from home. The steps to get back home can be found in His Word.
Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Just like Adam, we still run and hide from Him when we feel guilt and shame. When we have sinned we need to run towards Him for forgiveness. “I said, Lord, be merciful to me: heal my soul; for I have sinned.”  (Psalm 41:4) We all are at times like a prodigal son that needs to run back home. Our God is a Father who is always waiting at the door for us with His arms opened wide to receive us.

The Path:

Pray now asking Him to help you to get back on the right track, the path that will lead you home.

Father God, I have a lack of peace and joy in my heart.  Holy Spirit, I ask you to reveal to me the areas of my life in which I have turned away from You.  I have gotten off the path and left home by _______________.  I ask for your forgiveness.  Draw me close to You again and show me Your promises for me in Your Word.  I desire to be in Your presence once again.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, December 17, 2012

God Bless the Children - Memorial

~ God Bless the Children ~

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.

Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

They were filled with such joy; they didn't know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

“where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven" declared a small boy. "We’re spending Christmas at God's house”.

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King

and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.

And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad.

“then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe,

then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!

“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!

“Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“Come now my children let me show you around.

“Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness,” I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

~author unknown~

With a heavy heart; I send up my prayers, for all of the families across this Nation that have lost a child at the hands of another.

God Bless You!

“Let your beauty be found in “the hidden person of the heart,
with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is very precious in the sight of God.”
1 Peter 3:4

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crafts: Dough Ornaments

Salt Dough Ornaments 

Salt dough is a simple and fun way to make all sorts of hand molded or cookie cutter creations.


You will need:

1 cup salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup water
acrylic paint in any shade
clear acrylic sealer


This recipe for salt dough makes a lot of ornaments. If you only plan on making a few, cut this recipe into fourths or in half.

What you do

Preheat oven to 250 F. Mix together, salt, flour, and water until a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. BE CAREFUL. Do not add too much flour, this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.

Roll out the dough to approximately 1 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter of any variety, to create the shape you want. Once your shape is cut out, use your fingers to smooth the edges.

! Tip: Use a tooth-pick to carve fancy designs into your dough - being sure not to go too deep into the dough

Place onto the cookie sheet as you cut out each one to avoid trying to move it later, space approximately 3/4" apart Use the point of a pen or pencil to create a hole at the top of the shape for the ribbon hanger.

Bake ornament(s) on cookie sheet for approximately 2 hours.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

To decorate, paint the ornament with the paint color of your choice. Paint the back as well. Apply a second coat to both sides, let dry. Finish with a coat of clear acrylic sealer. String ribbon through the hole at the top of the heart and knot it at the top.

No-Bake Cinnamon Dough Ornaments


1 1/2 C. ground cinnamon
1 C. applesauce
1/4 C. white school glue - like Elmer's

1. Mix cinnamon, applesauce, and glue together in a bowl

2. Mixture should have a consistency of cookie dough
! Tip: If it seems hard - add a little water

3. Knead dough for 5-10 minutes, place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out, and let sit for 30-45 minutes

4. Knead dough again until smooth

5. Roll out dough between waxed paper until thickness is 1/8 to 1/4 inch

Use cookie cutters to create trees, gingerbread people, and holiday shapes. Use a straw to make a hole so you can hang the ornament.

Place ornaments on wax paper for drying. Drying will take 3-5 days, turn ornaments over a few times a day in order for them to day flat and prevent curling of the edges. Ornaments will shrink a little while drying.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wise Men (& Wise Women)

The Visit of the Wise Men

"In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road".


The wise men had studied all about Jesus, they had read the prophets, diligently seeking truths about Him. They were earnest seekers, people who had minds that were open. Are you like the wise men this Christmas?  Are you seeking Him? If you are you will truly find Him. Maybe you are searching for the meaning of life, maybe you are asking the question,  'is there more to life than this'.

Well there is, the more is Jesus. He says in John 10:10, that He came to give life and to give it abundantly. Please read the wonderful  verses in John 10:1-14

Full of Joy

After all that searching, the wise men have found Jesus, they are totally overjoyed. After many miles and many months of traveling, they had come to the place of true peace, in the presence of the Savior of the world. Maybe you have come a long road and  come through so much, that doesn't matter, what matters is that you have come to the place where Jesus can transform your life.

To find Jesus and to know Him as Saviour and Lord is to know Joy overflowing. Let me say that after 25 years of knowing Jesus as Saviour and Lord, he still makes my heart leap for joy, the very thought of Him is so wonderful. He gives lasting joy, a joy that the world cannot replicate.


What is so good, is that the wise men went in to Jesus, they didn't stay outside. They were important people in their own country, they had prestige, but they fell down and worshiped Jesus, this is the only response one can give to Him.  The gifts of the wise men, are likened to our lives, which we give gladly unto our Saviour. If you haven't already then please go in to Jesus as He wants to receive you. If you have then just take a moment to go to Him and just spend time in His awesome presense; giving thanks that God sent Him to be with us ... now and forevermore!

John said in chapter 1 verse 12 of his gospel, that as many as received Him, He gave the power to become the sons of God. Jesus is the gift, but you have got to ask for the gift, if you are sincere, God will give you the greatest gift, Jesus will come by His spirit to live in your heart


The Journey home must of been one of delight, these men were not the same men who came to see Jesus, they were different because they had been in His presence.  Everyone who comes into the presence of Jesus, is never the same again, He is the one who can transform your life, the only One who can. Be like the wise men and have your lives transformed this Christmas.


Isa 9:6  For a child has been born - for us! the gift of a son - for us! He'll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness

Let me finish with a question? What is Jesus to you this Christmas? Is He the greatest gift you have ever received?   He is more than a gift, He is the giver of the gift of Life, true everlasting life, He promises to give you life in abundance. When you trust Him as Lord and Savior, he becomes your Counselor, your Friend and your peace.

What I have shared is far too important to push to one side. Please don't say, that there is another day, another time where I will trust Christ. Peter says in Acts 4, that today is the day of Salvation.. not tomorrow and not next year. It is time to decide my friends.

God bless you!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Come with Prayer & Belief

The Excellency of Prayer

Prayer is the blessed means which God has appointed to bring every grace from Christ to the believer. The believer is to let his requests be made known unto God, and for his encouragement God says that the prayer of the upright is His delight. Yes, He says that He loves to hear it. "Let Me hear your voice, let Me see your face! For your voice is pleasant, and you are lovely!"

Prayer is the casting of our cares and burdens on the Lord. It is the pouring out of the soul before Him, the presenting of our troubles to Him. Prayer is communing and corresponding with Christ — and receiving grace from His fullness to help in every time of need. It is keeping open the communion between the Lord and His people. Prayer is their way of paying morning and evening visits to the King of kings and Lord of lords! It is their means of cultivating and keeping up perfect friendship with a Friend who loves at all times — and therefore it should never be neglected.

Prayer is pouring out the soul unto God and placing before Him our troubles. It is "casting all our cares upon Him who cares for us." — and our burdens upon Him in whom we have "righteousness and strength." Prayer is opening the heart, the mind, and the mouth to Him who has said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble! I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." It is besieging the everlasting kingdom, moving the throne of grace and knocking importunately at the door of mercy —encouraged by the promise, "Knock and it shall be opened unto you."

In prayer we must take no denial. If we have but a feeling sense of our needs, and a Scripture warrant of a promise to plead, we must argue, reason, plead, supplicate, intercede, confess, acknowledge, thank, bless, praise, adore, repeat, importune, watch, and take hold of whatever may be of use to the soul. Sinners, sensible of their lost estate by nature, who feel their need and poverty, have many invitations, encouragements, precedents and promises. They have, under the teachings of the Holy Spirit, to plead and rely upon the covenant of Jehovah, the oath of God; the merits of Christ and all His covenant engagements, undertakings and performances; the covenant characters He sustains; His near relationship to them — together with all the glorious train of Divine perfections found in the proclamation of the Name of God to Moses (Ex. 34:6,7) — for these all sweetly harmonize and brightly shine in Christ crucified — who has never once yet disappointed the hope of a penitent sinner, but has graciously said, "Come unto Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!" His promises, like Himself, are unchangeable, and this is one of them — "The one who comes unto Me, I will never cast out."

Private prayer is the Christian's court - visit to his God — the life and breath of his soul. It is the ascent of the heart to the Almighty —and its returns are the descent of Christ to be the soul's help!

Prayer is the assuagement of grief, the easement of a burdened heart, and the vent of a joyful heart. It is the rich aroma of mystical incense, the overflowing of a living fountain, an all - prevailing sacrifice, and the delight of the Almighty! Moreover, prayer is the greatest, most blessed and most glorious privilege, with which perishing sinners ever were favored!

Prayer is a defense against the spirit of this world, a bar to the inroads of vanity, a maul upon the head of the 'old man', and a lash of scorpions for the devil. It is a bridle in the jaws of a persecutor, a triumph over a voracious enemy, a dagger to the heart of a heretic, a key to parables and difficult Scriptures, and a battering - ram on the walls of salvation — for "the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."

Prayer opens the bountiful hand of God, opens the door of mercy, retains Christ on the throne of the affections, and covers every rival and usurper with shame and confusion of face! It is the believer's Royal Exchange, where he may take his cares, burdens, snares and troubles; his vexations, temptations, doubts and fears; his misgivings of heart, sorrows of mind, hardness of heart and ingratitude; together with his faintness, unbelief, and rebellion; also all his spiritual disorders —the leprosy of sin, the evil within, the plague of his heart, the plague of his head, his deaf ears, blind eyes, feeble knees, languid hands, halting feet and stiff neck! He may take all his sins there get rid of —and leave them all!

In return for their troubles, believers receive from their heavenly Banker numberless deliverances, blessings and mercies; many spiritual refreshings, renewings, revivals and restorations; large returns of comfort, peace, love and joy; together with fresh discoveries, love tokens, wholesome truths, profound mysteries, glorious glimpses, bright prospects, celestial views, undoubted evidences, heavenly lessons; conspicuous deliverances, pledges and foretastes; reviving cordials; valuable banknotes in "exceeding great and precious promises," payable this very day, and every day — and even to millions of ages afterwards—signed, sealed, and delivered by Jehovah Himself — the "God who cannot lie!"

Prayer has often scattered the confederate enemies of the soul, marred the schemes of opponents, frustrated the tales of liars, and made false teachers mad. Prayer counteracts the designs of Satan and his emissaries. It has made the believer to be an enemy to the world, the successful rival of deceivers, the envy of hypocrites, an eye-sore to the devil, the admiration of perishing sinners, a spectacle to the world—and a wonder to himself! He prays to his Father in secret, and his Father who sees in secret has engaged to reward him openly.

By prayer the spiritual pauper comes up from the dust, and the beggar up from the ash-heap—to sit among the princes of God's people, and inherit the throne of glory!

Prayer in faith has brought in countless providential mercies, as well as spiritual blessings. God could have granted them all without asking, but has condescended to honor the exercise of prayer by saying, "For all these things I will be inquired of by the house of Israel—that I may do it for them."

Prayer engages the Almighty on the side of the suppliant, and establishes an alliance with God. "All things are possible to him who believes." "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Prayer has brought health to the sick, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute, eyes to the blind, life to the dead, salvation to the lost; and has even driven the devil himself from the hearts of many—and brought the God of heaven to dwell in his place.

Prayer is God's appointment, the Spirit's gift, the believer's privilege, and the scourge of Satan! Therefore, prize it and use it!

God is well-pleased, and receives with pleasure, approbation, and delight—all who approach His throne of grace, sensible of their needs—in the name of Christ crucified. Hence faith in Christ becomes the only way of access to God—all other avenues are stopped up! The sword of justice is brandished to keep every other way to the tree of life closed. In Christ, we may come with boldness to the throne of grace; there is no obstacle, no hindrance, in this way. The sword of justice is sheathed, the law magnified, the ransom price paid, the devil dethroned, sin expiated, wrath endured, God well-pleased, sinners redeemed, enemies reconciled—that the Lord God might dwell among them!

Awesome; isn't it?!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holidays in December - Usual/Unusual/Odd

Unusual Holidays in December

We all know that Christmas is celebrated on December 25th, but did you know that December 18th this year is Roast Suckling Pig Day? Read on for some little known holidays celebrated this month that would add something extra to your life story.

Animal Holidays

December 2 - is National Mutt Day. Spend this day with your faithful mutt and make him or her feel special.

December 14 - is Monkey Day. How does one celebrate Monkey Day? Why, you scream like a monkey and scratch your armpits!

December 15 - is Cat Herders Day, although I don't really think it is about herding cats. That is a nearly impossible task, so maybe this is a day when you should take on things that you think may be unachievable.

Career Days

December 6 - is Miner's Day. Every miner, past and present, is honored on this day.

December 9 - is National Salesperson Day. On this day, you should tell your your check-out clerks, your car salesman, your insurance rep, etc., just how much you appreciate them.

Christmas Related Holidays

December 6 – St. Nicholas Day

December 19 - Look for an Evergreen Day, is the day to go out and find your perfect Christmas tree.

December 20 – Hanukkah
December 20 – Go Caroling Day

December 21 - is Humbug Day. If you are in the midst of Christmas preparations, this is a day for you to vent your frustrations and let go of the stress they bring.

December 22 – National Re-gifting Day

December 25 – Jesus is born! How delightful is that?!

December 30 - is Falling Needles Family Fest Day. Today is time for you and your family members to get rid of the tree you went out and found on Look for an Evergreen Day.

December 31 Holidays

December 31 - is New Year's Eve, but there are also other things to celebrate on this day. On this day, you can also celebrate the following:

Make Up Your Mind Day - On this, the last day of the year, it is time to make up your mind. You know those things you've been procrastinating making a decision on? Well, now is the time to decide once and for all.

No Interruptions Day - This is the day to get of all the modern conveniences that unfortunately distract you from what you should be doing. Time to turn off the cell phone, the television, the DVD player, the radio – well, you get the idea. It might surprise you all you can get done if you aren't distracted so much of the time.

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day - This is the day that a leap second is either added to or subtracted from the world clock.

Unlucky Day - Remember all of the bad things that happened this past year? Now is the time to finish them up and get rid of them so that you can start the new year with a clean slate? Need to apologize to someone for something bad you've done? Now is the the time to do so. Is there someone you need to forgive, someone whose been begging for your forgiveness? Now is the time.

Haven't gotten enough yet? Read on then for even more unusual holidays in December ...

More Unusual Holidays in December

Household/Clothing Holidays

December 3 - is Earmuff Day or Chester Greenwood Day – What does Chester Greenwood have to do with earmuffs? He is the one who invented them. He grew frustrated at his inability to keep his ears warm while testing out a new pair of ice skates in the freezing cold temperatures of Farmington, Maine. He made two ear shaped loops of wire and asked his grandmother to sew fur on them. He patented an improved model of this, which had a steel band to hold the fur-covered loops on the ears. They were originally called Greenwood's Champion Ear Protectors.

December 3 - National Roof Over Your Head Day, is the day to give thanks if you have a place to live.

December 4 - is Wear Brown Shoes Day. Maybe this day was created by someone who always wore black shoes and just simply grew tired of them. The true origins of this day is a mystery.

December 5 – Bathtub Party Day Spend the day just soaking your cares away. Of course it always helps to have a good book and a glass (or two) of wine while you do.

December 6 - is Put on Your Own Shoes Day. My guess is that this holiday was created by a mom who had grown tired of helping her young child put on his shoes. What do you think?

Food /Drink Holidays

December 1 – Eat a Red Apple Day
December 2 – National Fritters Day
December 4 – National Cookie Day
December 5 is Repeal Day. This day celebrates the repeal of Prohibition on December 5, 1933.
December 7 – National Cotton Candy Day
December 8 – National Brownie Day
December 9 – National Pastry Day
December 11 – National Noodle Ring Day
December 13 – Ice Cream Day
December 14 – National Bouillabaisse Day
December 15 – National Lemon Cupcake Day
December 16 – National Chocolate-covered Anything Day
December 17 – National maple Syrup Day
December 18 – Bake Cookies Day
December 18 – Roast Suckling Pig Day
December 19 – Oatmeal Muffin Day
December 20 – National Date Nut Bread Day
December 24 – National Egg Nog Day
December 25 – National Pumpkin Pie Day
December 26 – National Candy Cane Day
December 27 – National Fruitcake Day
December 30 – National Bacon Day

Game/Pastimes Holidays

December 4 – National Dice Day
December 21 – Crossword Puzzle Day
December 12 - National Ding-a-Ling Day, is a day to cut loose and act just a little weird.
December 27 – Make Cut Out Snowflake Day
December 28 – Card Playing Day

Musical Holidays

December 13 – Violin Day

Writing/Reading Holidays

December 4 - is Santa's Letter Day. A good way to get your children interested in writing, this is the day to write your letter to Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas.

December 7 - is Letter Writing Day. Remember when you had to handwrite each and every letter? Not many do that anymore; most simply send them through email. A handwritten letter is so much more personal, why not take the time today to sit down and write a letter to that special person?

December 10 - is Dewey Decimal System Day, a day that I'm pretty sure every librarian celebrates. Those of us who visit the library should celebrate it, too, since the Dewey Decimal System makes it a breeze for us to find the exact book we are looking for.

December 21 - is Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day. Phileas Fogg is a character from Around the World in Eighty Days, a book by Jules Verne. He barely won the bet; he made it around the world in 79 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds. With only 1 second to spare, he won £20,000.

December 22 - is National Haiku Poetry Day. This is day for you poetry lovers to write a haiku, a traditional Japanese style poem. A haiku normally has a nature theme, but can be written about anything. One has 3 lines and 17 syllables; there are 5 syllables on the first line, 7 syllables on the second line, and 5 syllables on the third line.

I wrote an example for you, but I am definitely not a poet, so please don't expect too much...

Late Kentucky fall.
Cold, icy rain pouring down.
Almost like winter.

December 26 – National Write a Thank You Note Day

Miscellaneous Holidays

December 8 – Take it in the Ear Day, if you have something to get off of your chest then today is your day to do it.

December 11 – Mountain Day, if you live near one take the time to just admire the beauty of it. Better yet go wander around in it for awhile and seriously get in touch with nature.

December 16 - is Underdog Day, just the day for those of you who always feel like you are the underdog. This is your day to feel superior to all around you.

December 21 - National Flashlight Day, would be a great day to make sure you have enough flashlights and batteries to last through the winter. You might need your flashlight on this, the shortest day of the year. You would also need them if your power went out due to any reason.

December 21 - is also Look on the Bright Side Day. This has nothing to do with sunlight, it has to do with being optimistic. No matter how bad your outlook might be, this is the day to look on the bright side.

December 23 – Festivus- look it up floks. I can't be expected to tell you everything. LOL

December 23 - is Roots Day. Are there pirates in your genealogy? What about royalty? Whoever is present in your genealogy, this is the day to pay tribute to them.

December 26 - is National Whiner's Day. I know, some people act like every day is a day to whine, but today actually is. You have 24 hours to whine about anything and everything. Once the clock hits midnight, though, the whining needs to stop.

December 29 - is Tick Tock Day. The clock is ticking down and your year is about over. Have you accomplished everything this year that you wanted? If not, you might want to get a move on. There are only two days left, then a new year begins.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December- This Month In History

The Nativity

December- This Month In History

December 1

December 1, 1640 - A nationalist revolution in Portugal led to independence from Spain as the Spanish garrisons were driven out of Portugal.

December 1, 1822 - Dom Pedro, founder of the Brazilian Empire, was crowned as the first emperor of Brazil.

December 1, 1918 - Iceland was granted independence by the Danish parliament.

December 1, 1919 - Lady Nancy Astor became the first woman in the British House of Commons.

December 1, 1925 - The Locarno Treaties were signed by France, Belgium and Germany, as a preventitive measure to avoid another war, in the aftermath of World War I. Terms of the Locarno Pact were guaranteed by Britain and Italy.

December 1, 1941 - The American Civil Air Patrol (CAP), a U.S. Air Force auxiliary, was founded as Director of Civilian Defense, former New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, signed the formal order. The CAP currently provides aerospace education, a CAP cadet program, and emergency services such as locating missing aircraft.

December 1, 1942 - The Beveridge Report was published in Britain envisioning the welfare state including insurance for the entire population.

December 1, 1955 - The birth of the modern American civil rights movement occurred as Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back section of a municipal bus. Her arrest resulted in a year-long boycott of the city bus system by African Americans and led to legal actions ending racial segregation on municipal buses throughout the South.

December 1, 1988 - Benazir Bhutto was nominated to become prime minister of Pakistan, the first woman to govern a Muslim nation.

December 1, 1989 - Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet Russian leader to visit the Vatican and meet the Pope, thus ending 72 years of strict atheist policy in Communist Russia.

December 1, 1990 - England was connected to mainland Europe for the first time since the Ice Age as engineers digging a railway tunnel under the English Channel broke through the last rock layer.

December 1, 1994 - The head of the U.N. Commission on Rwanda estimated 500,000 deaths had resulted from genocide.

December 2

December 2, 1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France by Pope Pius VII in Paris.

December 2, 1805 - Napoleon defeated Russia and Austria in the Battle of Austerlitz.

December 2, 1823 - President James Monroe introduced his "Monroe Doctrine" during his annual message to the Congress, prohibiting any further colonization of the American continents by European powers, stating, "we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety..."

December 2, 1852 - The Second Empire was proclaimed in France with Napoleon III as emperor.

December 2, 1859 - Abolitionist leader John Brown was executed for treason at Charles Town, West Virginia, following his raid on the U.S. Arsenal at Harper's Ferry.

December 2, 1942 - Physicists led by Enrico Fermi carried out the world's first successful nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago.

December 2, 1954 - The U.S. Senate condemned Senator Joseph McCarthy for misconduct following his ruthless investigations of thousands of alleged Communists.

December 2, 1971 - The United Arab Emirates was formed, consisting of seven Arab kingdoms on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula including the former Trucial states Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Qaiwain and Fujairah. Ras al-Khaimah became a member in 1972. The area has some of the world's largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

December 2, 1979 - Electors in Iran voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new constitution granting absolute power to Ayatollah Khomeini.

December 2, 1982 - The first permanent artificial heart was implanted in
61-year-old Barney C. Clark by Dr. William De Vries at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Clark, who was near death at the time of the operation, survived 112 days after the implantation.

Birthday - French painter Georges Seurat (1859-1891) was born in Paris. He was a leader in the neo-impressionist movement of the late 19th Century.

December 3

December 3, 1931 - British dominions gained complete legislative independence as the Statute of Westminster gave equal status to the dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Newfoundland.

December 3, 1962 - Edith Sampson was sworn in as the first African American female judge, after she was elected associate judge of the Municipal Court in Chicago.

December 3, 1967 - The first successful heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard at Cape Town, South African, on Louis Washkansky, who lived for 18 days.

December 3, 1984 - A deadly gas leak (of methyl isocyanate) at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killed at least 3,000 persons and injured more than 200,000.

December 3, 1993 - Britain's Princess Diana announced she was stepping out of the public spotlight, desiring more privacy amid unyielding attention from the tabloid press and 'paparazzi.'

Birthday - American portrait painter Charles Stuart (1755-1828) was born near Narragansett, Rhode Island. Best known for his portraits of George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson.

Birthday - Polish novelist Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born in the Ukraine (as Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski). Although he could speak no English at age 20, he went on to become an outstanding novelist, best known for his tales of seafaring life including Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim.

December 4

December 4, 1791 - The Observer, now the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, was first published in Britain.

December 4, 1829 - The British banned the practice of "suttee" in India in which Indian females traditionally burned themselves to death on their husband's funeral pyre.

December 4, 1918 - The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was proclaimed.

December 4, 1943 - During World War II, the second Cairo Conference took place, attended by Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt and President Inonu of Turkey.

December 4, 1991 - The last American hostage held in Lebanon was released. Journalist Terry Anderson of the Associated Press had been kidnapped on March 16, 1985 and held for 2,454 days by Islamic Jihad (Holy War) captors. He was one of 15 Americans held hostage for periods ranging from two months to more than six years. Three of the hostages; William Buckley, Peter Kilburn and Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins, were killed during their captivity. The others were released one or two at a time.

Birthday - Scottish essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was born in the village of Ecclefechan, Scotland. He wrote a three volume history of the French Revolution. Other works included; Heroes and Hero-Worship, Life and Letters of Oliver Cromwell and Frederick the Great.

December 5

December 5, 1492 - Haiti was discovered by Christopher Columbus.

December 5, 1791 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died a pauper at age 35 in Vienna, Austria. He had become seriously ill and rapidly declined, leading to speculation that he had been poisoned, although this was later proven false. During his brief life, he created over 600 musical compositions and is widely considered one of the finest composers who ever lived.

December 5, 1876 - President Ulysses S. Grant delivered a speech of apology to Congress claiming mistakes he made as president were "errors of judgment, not intent."

December 5, 1933 - The 18th Amendment (Prohibition Amendment) to the U.S. Constitution was repealed. For nearly 14 years, since January 29, 1920, it had outlawed the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the U.S.

December 5, 1955 - In Alabama, the Montgomery bus boycott began in response to the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man. Organized by the African American community, the boycott lasted until December 20, 1956, when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling integrated the public transportation system.

December 5, 1955 - The AFL-CIO was founded after two separate labor organizations, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, joined together following 20 years of rivalry, thus becoming the leading advocate for trade unions in the U.S.

Birthday - Martin van Buren (1782-1862) the 8th U.S. President was born in Kinderhook, New York. He was the first President who was born a citizen of the United States. He served from March 4, 1837 to March 3, 1841.

Birthday - George Armstrong Custer was born in New Rumley, Harrison County, Ohio. He graduated from West Point at the bottom of his class in 1861, then became a dashing cavalry officer in the Civil War and fought at Bull Run. He was appointed brigadier general and served gallantly at Gettysburg and in the Virginia campaigns. After the war, he took part in the Western expedition against the Sioux Indians. In June of 1867, Custer and over 200 of his soldiers from the U.S. 7th Cavalry were killed by Sioux warriors at Little Bighorn in Montana.

Birthday - Walt Disney (1901-1966) was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a little boy, he liked to draw farm animals and eventually got a job as an artist. He moved to Hollywood and in 1928 produced Steamboat Willie, starring Mickey Mouse, in the first cartoon with synchronized sound. In 1937, he released his full length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He opened the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, California, in 1955. Five years after his death, Disney World opened in Florida. The company he founded has since grown into a global entertainment empire.

December 6

December 6, 1492 - The island of Hispaniola was discovered by Christopher Columbus. Today the island is divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

December 6, 1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery.

December 6, 1877 - At his laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, Thomas Edison spoke the children's verse "Mary had a Little Lamb..." while demonstrating his newly invented phonograph which utilized a revolving cylinder wrapped in tinfoil to record sounds.

December 6, 1917 - Two ships collided at Halifax, Nova Scotia, resulting in an explosion that killed more than 1,500 persons and injured 8,000. The Norwegian ship Imo collided with the French munitions ship Mont Blanc which was loaded with supplies for the war in Europe, including 5,000 tons of TNT. A tidal wave caused by the explosion destroyed much of the city.

December 6, 1921 - The Irish Free State became an independent member of the British Commonwealth.

December 6, 1971 - The Democratic Republic of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, was recognized by India. Pakistan then broke off diplomatic relations with India.

December 6, 1973 - Gerald Ford was sworn in as vice president under Richard Nixon following the resignation of Spiro Agnew who pleaded no contest to charges of income tax evasion.

December 6, 1978 - In Spain, a new constitution was approved by referendum, providing for a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary form of government.

Birthday - American poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Best known for his poem Trees, published in 1913. He was killed in action during World War I near Ourcy, France. The U.S. Army's Camp Kilmer was named in his honor.

Birthday - American lyricist Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) was born in New York City. He collaborated with his brother George to create many Broadway successes including; Lady Be Good, Funny Face, Strike Up the Band, and songs such as The Man I Love, Someone to Watch Over Me, and I Got Rhythm.

Birthday - Photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995) was born in Dirschau, Prussia. Best known for his Life magazine cover photos, including the sailor kissing a nurse in Time's Square, celebrating the end of World War II.

December 7

December 7, 43 B.C. - Cicero (Marcus Tullius) died. He was a writer, statesman, and was considered ancient Rome's greatest orator.

December 7, 1787 - Delaware became the first state to adopt the new constitution of the United States of America.

December 7, 1941 - The U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked by nearly 200 Japanese aircraft in a raid that lasted just over one hour and left nearly 3,000 Americans dead.

Birthday - Wax modeler Marie Tussaud (1761-1850) was born in Bern, Switzerland. She established Madame Tussaud's waxworks in London in 1802 and later added a Chamber of Horrors.

December 8

December 8, 1940 - During the Blitz, the House of Commons and Tower of London were seriously damaged amid an overnight air raid by German bombers on London.

December 8, 1941 - A day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States and Britain declared war on Japan.

December 8, 1980 - Former Beatle musician John Lennon was assassinated in New York City.

December 8, 1987 - President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Russia's General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty eliminating all intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear missiles.

December 8, 1991 - The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) ceased to exist, as the leaders of Russia, Byelorussia and the Ukraine signed an agreement creating the Commonwealth of Independent States. The remaining republics of the former USSR, with the exception of Georgia, joined the new Commonwealth.

Birthday - Cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney (1765-1825) was born in Westboro, Massachusetts. His invention used comb-like teeth to remove seeds from harvested cotton and had a tremendous impact on the economy of the South. By 1800, cotton production increased from about 3,000 bales a year to 73,000. He also developed the concept of mass production of interchangeable parts and the assembly line.

Birthday - General Motors founder William C. "Billy" Durant (1861-1947) was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

Birthday - Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. He created large works for display in the U.S. which aroused controversy due to his political point of view as a Communist. In 1933, his fresco Man at the Crossroads was removed from Rockefeller Center in New York City amid claims it included a figure resembling Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. A year earlier, a mural done for the Detroit Institute of Arts had been criticized as irreligious. Following these controversies, he was denied further commissions in the U.S., although his work remained popular in Mexico.

Birthday - American humorist and artist James Thurber (1894-1961) was born in Columbus, Ohio. Best known for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

December 9

December 9, 1941 - During World War II, China issued a formal declaration of war against Japan, Germany and Italy.

December 9, 1948 - The United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It took effect on January 12, 1951, following ratification by 20 member nations.

December 9, 1958 - The John Birch Society was founded in the U.S. by Robert H.W. Welch as an anti-Communist political organization named for Capt. John Birch, a U.S. Army officer killed in 1945 by Chinese Communists.

December 9, 1990 - Lech Walesa won a landslide victory in the Polish presidential election.

December 9, 1992 - Buckingham Palace announced the separation of Prince Charles and Princess of Wales, Dianna.

December 9, 1993 - A five-day repair job in space on the $3 billion Hubble Space Telescope was finished by U.S. astronauts.

December 9, 1994 - Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army's political wing, held its first formal talks with Britain in over 70 years.

December 9, 1998 - Swiss politicians elected Interior Minister Ruth Dreifuss as president, making her the first woman to lead the Swiss government.

Birthday - British poet John Milton (1608-1674) was born in London. Considered second only to Shakespeare in importance, his works include; Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, the pamphlets Of Reformation Touching Church Discipline, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates and Pro Populo Anglicano.

Birthday - American industrialist Clarence Birdseye (1886-1956) was born in Brooklyn, New York. He developed a method of deep-freezing foods and was one of the founders of General Foods Corp.

December 10

December 10, 1896 - Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel died at San Remo, Italy. His will stipulated that income from his $9 million estate be used for awards recognizing persons who have made valuable contributions to humanity. Nobel recipients are chosen by a committee of the Norwegian parliament. Prizes for Peace, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Economics are presented annually in a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on the anniversary of his death. Each prize is valued at about $1 million.

December 10, 1898 - The Treaty of Paris was signed between American and Spanish representatives following Spain's defeat in the Spanish-American War. Under the treaty, the U.S. gained the Philippine Islands, the islands of Guam and Puerto Rico, and an agreement by Spain to withdraw from Cuba. The treaty passed by a single vote in the U.S. Senate on February 6, 1899, and was signed by President William McKinley four days later.

December 10, 1941 - During World War II, British Battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk by Japanese warplanes in the South China Sea, killing nearly 800 crewmen.

December 10, 1948 - The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

December 10, 1950 - Dr. Ralph Bunche became the first African American man awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his efforts in mediation between Israel and nearby Arab states the previous year.

December 10, 1989 - The first non-Communist government since 1948 assumed power in Czechoslovakia.

Birthday - Educator Thomas Gallaudet (1787-1851) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He co-founded the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1817.

Birthday - Poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her poetry became known only after her death when her sister discovered nearly 2,000 poems locked in her bureau, written on the backs of envelopes and scraps of paper. They were published gradually over the next 50 years, beginning in 1890.

Birthday - American librarian Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) was born in Adams Center, New York. He invented the Dewey decimal book classification system, advocated spelling reform, and urged use of the metric system.

December 11

December 11, 1845 - The first Anglo-Sikh War in India began as the Sikhs attacked British colonial forces. The Sikhs were defeated after four battles. Part of the Punjab region of northwestern India was then annexed by the British.

December 11, 1901 - The first transatlantic radio signal was transmitted by Guglielmo Marconi from Cornwall, England, to St. John's, Newfoundland.

December 11, 1936 - King Edward VIII abdicated the throne of England to marry "the woman I love," a twice-divorced American named Wallis Warfield Simpson. They were married in France on June 3, 1937, and then lived in Paris.

December 11, 1941 - A major turning point in World War II occurred as Japan's Axis partners, Italy and Germany, both declared war on the United States. The U.S. Congress immediately declared war on them. President Roosevelt then made the defeat of Hitler the top priority, devoting nearly 90 percent of U.S. military resources to the war in Europe.

December 11, 1994 - Russia sent tanks and troops into Chechnya to end the rebel territory's three-year drive for independence.

December 11, 1998 - The House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment charging President Bill Clinton with perjury and obstruction of justice.

Birthday - New York Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia (1882-1947) was born in New York City. A beloved, gregarious politician, "The Little Flower" (the meaning of Fiorello) served as a U.S. Congressman and was then elected three times as mayor of New York City beginning in 1933. He was a liberal Republican who supported organized labor, women's rights and child labor laws. As mayor of New York, he reformed the city government and battled corruption, but kept his sense of humor. "When I make a mistake it's a beaut!" he once joked.

December 12

December 12, 1870 - Joseph Hayne Rainey of Georgetown, South Carolina, became the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. He filled a seat which had been declared vacant by the House and served until 1879.

December 12, 1998 - The House Judiciary Committee approved a fourth and final article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with making false statements in his answers to written questions from Congress.

Birthday - American statesman John Jay (1745-1829) was born in New York City. He was a diplomat and the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He co-wrote (with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison) the Federalist Papers.

Birthday - Abolitionist William LLoyd Garrison (1805-1879) was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He founded the Liberator anti-slavery newspaper in 1831 and published it for the next fifty years. He also traveled throughout America delivering scathing antislavery speeches, even advocating that the North should secede from the South. In 1854, he burned a copy of the U.S. Constitution, declaring, "So perish all compromises with tyranny!"

Birthday - French author Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) was born in Rouen. Best known for the novel Madame Bovary, a tale of a woman's revolt against middle class society.

December 13

December 13, 1545 - The Council of Trent, summoned by Pope Paul III, met to discuss doctrinal matters including the rise of Protestantism.

December 13, 1577 - Francis Drake departed Plymouth, England, in the Golden Hind on his voyage around the world.

December 13, 1642 - New Zealand was discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company.

December 13, 1862 - During the American Civil War, the Battle of Fredericksburg occurred in Virginia as the Union Army of the Potomac under General Burnside suffered a costly defeat, losing 12,653 men after 14 frontal assaults on well entrenched Rebels on Marye's Heights. "We might as well have tried to take hell," a Union soldier remarked. Confederate losses were 5,309. "It is well that war is so terrible - we should grow too fond of it," stated Confederate General Robert E. Lee during the fighting.

December 13, 1937 - The beginning of one of the worst atrocities of World War II as the Chinese city of Nanking (Nanjing) was captured by the Japanese. Over the next six weeks, the Rape of Nanking occurred in which Japanese soldiers randomly attacked, raped and indiscriminately killed an estimated 200,000 Chinese persons.

December 13, 1981 - In its struggle to maintain Communism, the Polish government imposed martial law and took steps to stifle the growing power of the pro-democratic trade union Solidarity.

December 13, 1991 - North and South Korea signed a treaty of reconciliation and nonaggression which also formally ended the Korean War, although actual fighting had ceased in 1953.

Birthday - German writer Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) was born in Dusseldorf. Best known for his statement made a hundred years before the advent of book-burning Nazis in Germany - "Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too."

Birthday - Mary Todd (1818-1882) was born in Lexington, Kentucky. She became the wife of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. President.

Birthday - American clergyman and composer Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He wrote the lyrics for the popular Christmas Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

December 14

December 14, 1799 - George Washington died at Mount Vernon.

December 14, 1861 - In Britain, Prince Albert died of typhoid at Windsor Castle. He was the consort and husband of Queen Victoria of England. Following his death, the Queen went into an extended period of mourning.

December 14, 1911 - Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first person to reach the South Pole.

December 14, 1918 - British women voted for the first time in a general election and were allowed to run for office.

December 14, 1927 - Britain recognized independent Iraq and supported Iraqi admission to the League of Nations.

December 14, 1935 - Thomas Masaryk, founder and first president of the Czechoslovak Republic, resigned and was succeeded by Edvard Benes.

December 14, 1939 - The League of Nations expelled Soviet Russia for its aggression against Finland.

December 14, 1962 - The Mariner II space probe sent back information from the planet Venus, the first information ever received from another planet.

December 14, 1995 - A Bosnian peace treaty was signed in Paris by leaders from the former Yugoslavia. The treaty ended Europe's worst conflict since World War II.

Birthday - French physician Nostradamus (1503-1566) was born in St. Remy, Provence, France (as Michel de Notredame). He wrote astrological predictions in rhymed quatrains, believed by many to foretell the future.

Birthday - World War II General James Doolittle (1896-1993) was born in Alameda, California. On April 18, 1942, he led a squadron of B-25 bombers launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet to conduct the first American air raid of the war against mainland Japan. He also headed the Eighth Air Force during the Normandy invasion and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

December 15

December 15, 1791 - The Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) became effective following ratification by Virginia.

December 15, 1840 - Napoleon was buried in Les Invalides in Paris. He had died in exile on the island of Saint Helena after his fall from power.

December 15, 1890 - Sioux leader Sitting Bull (native name Tatanka-yatanka) was killed in a skirmish with U.S. soldiers along the Grand River in South Dakota as his warriors tried to prevent his arrest.

December 15, 1939 - Gone with the Wind had its world premiere in Atlanta, introduced by producer David O. Selznick and featuring appearances by Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.

December 15, 1943 - The Battle of San Pietro took place during World War II as a German panzer battalion devastated American forces trying to take the 700-year-old Italian village. Hollywood director John Huston, serving as an army lieutenant, filmed the battle and left behind a graphic account.

December 15, 1961 - Nazi SS-Colonel Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death in Jerusalem for his role in the Holocaust. Eichmann had organized the deportation of Jews from all over occupied Europe to Nazi death camps.

December 15, 1964 - Canada adopted a new national flag featuring a red maple leaf on a white background.

December 15, 1989 - The dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet ended in Chile. Pinochet had come to power in 1973 after a military overthrow of the democratically elected government.

December 15, 1993 - The GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Treaty was approved by delegations from 117 countries. The treaty was designed to reduce international tariffs, eliminate trade quotas, and protect intellectual property.

December 15, 1995 - European Union leaders announced their new currency would be known as the Euro.

Birthday - French engineer Alexandre Eiffel (1832-1923) was born in Dijon, France. He designed the Eiffel Tower for the Paris International Exposition of 1889. He also helped design the Statue of Liberty.

December 16

December 16, 1653 - Following the defeat of King Charles I in the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentary forces, was declared Lord Protector of England.

December 16, 1773 - The Boston Tea Party occurred as colonial activists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded British ships anchored in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 containers of expensive tea into the water.

December 16, 1835 - A massive fire erupted in New York City, destroying more than 600 buildings, causing an estimated $20 million in damages.

December 16, 1944 - American big-band leader Glenn Miller disappeared in a small plane over the English Channel and was presumably killed. Best remembered for Moonlight Serenade and In the Mood.

December 16, 1944 - During World War II in Europe, the Battle of the Bulge began as the Germans launched a big counter-offensive in the Ardennes Forest along a 75-mile front, taking American troops by surprise. Aided by foggy, snowy weather, the Germans penetrated 65 miles into Allied lines by the end of December. The German advance was eventually halted by Montgomery on the Meuse and Patton at Bastogne. As the weather cleared, Allied aircraft attacked German ground forces and supply lines and the counter-offensive failed. There were an estimated 77,000 Allied and 130,000 German casualties.

December 16, 1969 - The British House of Commons voted 343-185 to abolish the death penalty in England.

December 16, 1991 - The United Nations voted to revoke Resolution 3379, originally approved on November 10, 1975, which had equated Zionism (a movement supporting the Jewish national state of Israel) with racism.

Birthday - Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was born in Bonn, Germany. He created powerful, emotional music and is widely consider the greatest orchestral composer who ever lived. He suffered from hearing loss before he was 30 and by the time of his last (Ninth) symphony, he was completely deaf. In 1824, he conducted the Ninth Symphony at its world premier in Vienna although he was unable to hear either the orchestra or the applause. In all, he composed nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, five piano concerti, 17 string quartets, ten sonatas for violin and piano, the opera Fidelio, the Mass in C Major, Missa Solemnis, and other chamber music.

Birthday - British novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817) was born in Hampshire, England. She wrote love stories concerning the lives of gentry in rural England. Best known for Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and Emma. In recent years her works have been made into very popular TV mini-series and movies.

Birthday - Philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) was born in Madrid, Spain. As a child he emigrated to the U.S. and eventually became a teacher at Harvard University. Best known for stating, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Birthday - Anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She studied primitive peoples in the Southwest Pacific and was known for her outspoken manner regarding social issues such as women's rights, child rearing, population control and world hunger.

December 17

December 17, 1538 - Pope Paul III excommunicated King Henry VIII after he had declared himself supreme head of the Church in England.

December 17, 1777 - At Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, the Continental Army led by General George Washington settled in for the winter.

December 17, 1971 - The war between India and Pakistan over East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) ended as 90,000 Pakistani troops surrendered.

December 17, 1903 - After three years of experimentation, Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first powered, controlled airplane flights. They made four flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the longest lasting about a minute.

Birthday - Deborah Sampson (1760-1827) was born in Plympton, Massachusetts. During the American Revolutionary War, she disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Continental Army under the name Robert Shurtleff. Although she was wounded in battle, she was not discovered until a severe fever unmasked her identity. She was dismissed from the army in 1783. In later life, she lectured professionally on her wartime experiences.

Birthday - Poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His books of poetry include Legends of New England and Snowbound.

December 18

December 18, 1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified abolishing slavery, stating, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

December 18, 1916 - During World War I, the Battle of Verdun concluded after ten months of fighting in which 543,000 French and 434,000 German soldiers were killed.

December 18, 1940 - Adolf Hitler ordered the German General Staff to begin planning Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia.

December 18, 1956 - Japan was admitted to the United Nations.

Birthday - West German Chancellor Willy Brandt (1913-1992) was born in Lubeck, Germany (as Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm). During Hitler's regime, he was an anti-Nazi exile. He returned to Germany after World War II, entered politics and was elected chancellor in 1969. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his efforts to improve East-West relations during the Cold War.

December 19

December 19, 1732 - Benjamin Franklin first published Poor Richard's Almanac containing weather predictions, humor, proverbs and epigrams, eventually selling nearly 10,000 copies per year.

December 19, 1946 - War broke out in French Indochina as Ho Chi Minh attacked the French seeking to oust them from Vietnam. This marked the beginning of a thirty-year conflict which eventually led to heavy U.S. involvement and ended with a Communist victory in April 1975 after U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam.

December 19, 1998 - The House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton, approving two out of four Articles of Impeachment, charging Clinton with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice.

Birthday - British explorer William Parry (1790-1855) was born in Bath, England. He conducted Arctic expeditions and made three attempts to find a Northwest Passage.

Birthday - Historian Carter Woodson (1875-1950) was born in New Canton, Virginia. He introduced black studies to American colleges and universities. His works included; The Negro in Our History and The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861.

December 20

December 20, 1606 - The Virginia Company expedition to America began as three small ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, departed London under the command of Captain Christopher Newport. In May of 1607, the royally chartered company established the first permanent English settlement in America at Jamestown (Virginia).

December 20, 1699 - Czar Peter the Great changed the Russian New Year from September 1 to January 1 as part of his reorganization of the Russian calendar.

December 20, 1860 - South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union in a prelude to the American Civil War. Within two months Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas seceded. In April 1861, Virginia seceded, followed within five weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy with a population of 9 million, including nearly 4 million slaves. The Union had 21 states and a population of over 20 million.

December 20, 1956 - The Montgomery bus boycott ended after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling integrating the Montgomery bus system was implemented. The boycott by African Americans had begun on December 5, 1955, after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man.

December 20, 1989 - The U.S. invaded Panama attempting to capture Manuel Noriega on charges of narcotics trafficking. Operation Just Cause occurred seven months after Noriega had declared unfavorable election results in his country to be null and void. The invasion toppled the Noriega government and resulted in the installation of Guillermo Endara as president. Noriega temporarily eluded capture, but surrendered a few weeks later to U.S. troops. He was then tried, convicted, and imprisoned in the U.S.

Birthday - American industrialist Harvey S. Firestone (1868-1938) was born in Columbiana County, Ohio. He founded Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. and was a close friend of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.

December 21

December 21st - Winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of summer.

December 21, 1846 - Anesthesia was used for the first time in Britain during an operation at University College Hospital in London performed by Robert Liston who amputated the leg of a servant.

December 21, 1945 - World War II General George Patton died in Germany following a car accident. He had been injured on December 9th near Mannheim and was taken to a hospital in Heidelberg where he died. He was buried in Luxembourg. Nicknamed "Old Blood and Guts," he once stated during the war, "We shall attack and attack until we are exhausted, and then we shall attack again."

December 21, 1972 - East and West Germany established diplomatic ties, ending nearly two decades of Cold War hostility and paving the way for international recognition of East Germany.

December 21, 1988 - Pan American Flight 103 exploded in midair as the result of a terrorist bomb and crashed into Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew members along with 11 persons on the ground were killed.

December 21, 1993 - The KGB (Soviet Secret Police) organization was abolished by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Birthday - British statesman Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) was born in London. He led the Tory Party and twice held the post of prime minister. He was instrumental in the expansion of the British Empire into India and the Middle East during the reign of Queen Victoria. He also pioneered the concept of the political novel and produced such works as Vivian Grey, Coningsby, and Lothair.

Birthday - Soviet Russia leader Josef Stalin (1879-1953) was born in the village of Gori in Georgia, Russia (as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili).

December 22

December 22, 1783 - Following a triumphant journey from New York to Annapolis, Maryland, George Washington, victorious Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolutionary Army, appeared before Congress and voluntarily resigned his commission.

Birthday - Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) was born in Lucca, Tuscany. Widely considered the greatest Italian opera composer, he is best known for popular works such as Madama Butterfly and La Boheme.

Birthday - "Lady Bird" Johnson (1912-2007) was born in Karnack, Texas (as Claudia Alta Taylor). She was beside her husband Lyndon Johnson on board Air Force One when he was sworn in as the 36th U.S. President following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She proved to be a gracious First Lady, remembered for her anti-litter campaign, asking citizens to help "Beautify America."

December 23

December 23, 1888 - Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear during a fit of depression.

December 23, 1913 - The U.S. Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act establishing the Federal Reserve System to serve as the nation's central bank. Chief responsibilities include: execution of monetary policy; influencing the lending and investing activities of commercial banks; and overseeing the cost and availability of money and credit.

December 23, 1947 - The transistor was invented at Bell Laboratories by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley, who shared the Nobel Prize for their invention which sparked a worldwide revolution in electronics.

December 23, 1948 - Hideki Tojo was hanged for war crimes. He had been Japanese prime minister from 1941-44. Following Japan's defeat in World War II, he was arrested as a war criminal, tried by a military tribunal and sentenced to death. He was hanged along with six other Japanese wartime military leaders at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, with the sentence carried out by the U.S. 8th Army.

December 23, 1987 - Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager set a new world record of 216 hours of continuous flight around the world without refueling. Their aircraft Voyager traveled 24,986 miles at a speed of about 115 miles per hour.

Birthday - Mormon prophet Joseph Smith (1805-1844) was born in Sharon, Vermont. He founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Birthday - Japanese Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) was born in Tokyo. He was Japan's wartime Emperor and was allowed to remain in his position after the war.

December 24

December 24, 1814 - The Treaty of Ghent between America and Britain was signed, officially ending the War of 1812.

December 24, 1914 - The first-ever German air raid against Britain took place when a German monoplane dropped a single bomb on Dover, England, during World War I.

December 24, 1942 - The first surface-to-surface guided missile, later known as the V-1 Flying Bomb, was launched by German rocket engineer Wernher von Braun. Called "Buzz Bombs" for the loud buzzing sound of their motor, they were used by Nazi Germany against Britain beginning in September 1944.

December 24, 1943 - General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force preparing for D-Day.

December 24, 1990 - On Christmas Eve, the bells of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow rang for the first time since the death of Lenin.

December 24, 1992 - Caspar Weinberger and five other Reagan aides involved in the Iran-Contra scandal were pardoned by President George Bush.

Birthday - American patriot Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was born on a plantation in Byberry, Pennsylvania. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a doctor and humanitarian, whose writings on mental illness earned him the title "Father of Psychiatry." He also countered the prevailing notion that alcohol was generally good for people and was one of the first to describe alcoholism as a chronic disease.

Birthday - American frontiersman Christopher "Kit" Carson (1809-1868) was born in Madison County, Kentucky. He was a soldier, trapper, guide and Indian agent in the Old West.

Birthday - Howard Hughes (1905-1976) was born in Houston, Texas. He was a movie producer, aviator and industrialist whose legendary desire for privacy generated many rumors and much curiosity. Perhaps best remembered for designing an eight-engine flying boat, nicknamed the Spruce Goose, which was to carry 750 passengers, although it only made one brief test flight.

Birthday - Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) was born in northern Spain (as Inigo de Onaz y Loyola). He founded the Catholic Jesuits (Society of Jesus).

December 25 

December 25th - Christmas Day, commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Although the exact date of his birth is not known, it has been celebrated on December 25th by the Western (Roman Catholic) Church since 336 A.D.

December 25, 1066 - William the Conqueror was crowned King of England after he had invaded England from France, defeated and killed King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, then marched on London.

December 25, 1776 - During the American Revolution, George Washington took 2,400 of his men across the Delaware River. Washington then conducted a surprise raid on 1,500 British-Hessians (German mercenaries) at Trenton, New Jersey. The Hessians surrendered after an hour with nearly 1,000 taken prisoner by Washington who suffered only six wounded (including future president Lt. James Monroe). The victory provided a much needed boost to American morale.

December 25, 1868 - President Andrew Johnson granted general amnesty to all those involved in the Civil War.

December 25, 1926 - Hirohito became Emperor of Japan.

December 25, 1989 - In Romania, a television broadcast of a Christmas symphony was interrupted with the announcement that Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife had been executed following a popular uprising. A pro-democracy coalition then took control. Ceausescu, a hard-line Communist, had been ousted from power after ordering his black-shirted state police to suppress a disturbance in the town of Timisorara, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 4,500 persons.

Birthday - Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. He was a mathematician, scientist and author, best known for his work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica on the theory of gravitation. He died in London and was the first scientist to be honored with burial in Westminster Abbey.

Birthday - American nurse and philanthropist Clara Barton (1821-1912) was born in Oxford, Massachusetts. She served as a nurse during the Civil War and in 1881 founded the American Red Cross.

Birthday - The founder of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) was born in Karachi.

Birthday - Film actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) was born in New York City. Best known for The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and To Have and Have Not.

December 26

December 26th - Boxing Day in the United Kingdom and many other countries, a day of gift giving when boxes of food, clothing and other gifts are traditionally given to employees, tradespeople and other service providers.

December 26-January 1 - Kwanzaa, an African American family observance established in 1966 celebrating traditional African harvest festivals, focusing on family unity, with a community harvest feast on the seventh day. Kwanzaa means "first fruit" in Swahili.

December 26, 2004 - An estimated 230,000 persons were killed and 1.5 million left homeless when a magnitude 9.3 earthquake on the seafloor of the Indian Ocean set off a series of giant tsunami waves that smashed into the shorelines of a dozen countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Somalia.

Birthday - Mao Tse-Tung (1893-1976) was born in Hunan Province, China. He was a Chinese librarian, teacher, communist revolutionist, considered the "founding father" of the People's Republic of China.

December 27

December 27, 1831 - Charles Darwin set out from Plymouth, England, aboard the ship HMS Beagle on his five-year global scientific expedition. Darwin collected fossils and studied plants and animals, gradually beginning to doubt that many diverse species of living things had sprung into existence at one moment (creationism). In 1859, he published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

December 27, 1927 - Josef Stalin consolidated his power in Soviet Russia by expelling rival Leon Trotsky from the Soviet Communist Party.

December 27, 1945 - The International Monetary Fund was established in Washington, D.C.

December 27, 1949 - The Dutch transferred sovereignty of Indonesia to the new United States of Indonesia. The new nation retained a formal association with the Netherlands until 1954, when an independent Republic of Indonesia was formed. Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia. It consists of 13,677 islands along the equator between the Indian and Pacific oceans, and a population of over 150 million.

December 27, 1996 - A genocide trial began concerning the killing of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda. In 1994, a bloody civil war had broken out between the two main ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi. After the Hutu army seized power it had waged a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against the Tutsi population.

Birthday - German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was born in Wurttemberg, Germany. Considered the father of modern astronomy, he discovered the elliptical (oval) shape of the orbits in which the earth and other planets travel around the sun at a speed that varies according to each planet's distance from the sun.

Birthday - French chemist-bacteriologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was born in Dole, France. He developed the pasteurization process to kill harmful bacteria with heat and found ways of preventing silkworm disease, anthrax, chicken cholera, and rabies.

Birthday - Actress Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) was born in Berlin, Germany. She starred in The Blue Angel, the first 'talkie' made in Germany. She then moved to Hollywood and starred in films including; Destry Rides Again, Touch of Evil, Judgment at Nuremberg and Witness for the Prosecution. In the 1950's she toured the world as a cabaret singer in a stage revue.

December 28

December 28, 1832 - John C. Calhoun became the first American ever to resign the office of vice president. He served under Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson and resigned after a series of political disagreements with President Jackson. He went on to become a U.S. Senator from South Carolina.

December 28, 1947 - Victor Emmanuel III, the last King of Italy, died while in exile in Alexandria, Egypt. He had become king upon the assassination of his father in 1900. Following World War I, he named Benito Mussolini to form a cabinet and then failed to prevent Mussolini's Fascists from seizing power. In 1946, he abdicated and went into exile.

Birthday - Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) the 28th U.S. President was born in Staunton, Virginia (as Thomas Woodrow Wilson). He served two terms from 1912 through 1921. Best remembered for stating, "The world must be made safe for democracy," while asking Congress for a declaration of war against Germany in 1917. Following the death of his first, he married Edith Bolling Galt in 1915. He had suffered a paralytic stroke in 1919 and never regained his health, leading to speculation that his wife was actually running the White House during his illness.

December 29

December 29, 1170 - Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by four knights acting on orders from England's King Henry II.

December 29, 1890 - Members of the U.S. 7th Cavalry massacred more than 200 Native American (Sioux) men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.

December 29-30, 1916 - In the waning days of the Romanov dynasty, Russian 'monk' Rasputin (Grigory Yefimovich Novykh) was assassinated. A group of conspirators had lured him to a private home then poisoned and shot him, although he did not die. They then tied him up and threw him into the Neva River, in which he drowned. Rasputin had gained enormous influence with Russian Emperor Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra, claiming Divine inspiration and the ability to perform miracles, especially in helping young Nicky, the Czar's son who was a hemophiliac. He also urged severe measures in dealing with the peasant masses and for a time had virtually dictated government policy.

December 29, 1940 - During the Blitz, German aircraft dropped thousands of incendiary bombs on the center of London, causing the worst fire damage since the great fire of 1666. St. Paul's Cathedral survived but eight other Wren churches along with the Guildhall and Old Bailey were badly damaged.

December 29, 1965 - During the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh rejected unconditional peace talks offered by the U.S.

December 29, 1989 - Playwright and human rights activist Vaclav Havel was sworn in as president of Czechoslovakia. He had formerly been denounced by Czech Communists as an enemy of the state and had spent five years in jail for his beliefs.

Birthday - Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) the 17th U.S. President was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was Abraham Lincoln's vice president and became President upon Lincoln's assassination in 1865. He went on to become the first President impeached by the House of Representatives. He was acquitted in the Senate by a single vote. He later served briefly as a Senator from Tennessee until his death on July 31, 1875.

Birthday - Cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973) was born in Venrdell, Spain. He was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century whose superb ability in playing the cello set new performance standards.

December 30

December 30, 1803 - The Stars and Stripes flag was raised over New Orleans as the United States took formal possession of the territory of Louisiana, an area of 885,000 square miles, nearly doubling the size of the U.S. The territory had been purchased from France for approximately $15 million.

December 30, 1862 - During the American Civil War, the Union ironclad ship USS Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, during a storm, resulting in the loss of sixteen crewmen.

December 30, 1903 - In Chicago, a fire inside the Iroquois Theater killed 588 persons, eventually resulting in new fire safety codes for theaters.

December 30, 1922 - The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was established through the confederation of Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and the Transcaucasian Federation.

December 30, 1947 - King Michael of Romania was forced to abdicate after the Communists seized power.

December 30, 1988 - President Ronald Reagan and President-elect George Bush were subpoenaed to testify in the trial of Oliver North, a former White House aide implicated in the Iran-Contra affair in which arms were secretly sold to Iran while profits from the sale were diverted to guerrillas trying to topple the Nicaraguan government in South America.

December 30, 1993 - Israel and the Vatican signed an agreement on mutual recognition, seeking to end 2,000 years of unfriendly Christian-Jewish relations.

Birthday - Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay, India. He was a British poet, novelist, short story writer, best known for his children's stories such as the Jungle Book.

Birthday - Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo (1884-1948) was born in Tokyo. He led Japan during World War II and was arrested in August 1945 as a war criminal, tried, then hanged in 1948.

December 31

December 31st - New Year's Eve, the final evening of the Gregorian calendar year, traditionally a night for merry-making to welcome in the new year.

December 31, 1781 - The first bank in the U.S., the Bank of North America, received its charter from the Confederation Congress. It opened on January 7, 1782, in Philadelphia.

December 31, 1879 - Thomas Edison provided the first public demonstration of his electric incandescent lamp at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

December 31, 1971 - Austrian Kurt Waldheim became U.N. Secretary-General following the retirement of U Thant. Waldheim served until 1981 then resumed his career in Austrian politics. In 1986, he ran for the presidency. During the campaign, it was revealed he had likely given false information concerning his military service in the German Army during World War II. He claimed he left the army in 1942 after being wounded on the Russian Front, but allegations arose that he was actually lieutenant in 1943-44 stationed in the Balkans when Greek Jews were rounded up and sent to Nazi death camps and when atrocities were committed against Yugoslav resistance fighters.

Birthday - George C. Marshall (1880-1959) was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He had genius for organization and served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army throughout World War II, expanding the Army from 130,000 to 8,300,000 men. He then served as Secretary of State under President Truman and designed the Marshall Plan for the relief of war torn Europe and to halt the spread of Communism.