Today is Wednesday, Dec. 25, the 359th day of 2019 with six to follow.
This is Christmas Day.
The moon is waning. Morning stars are Mars, Mercury and Uranus. Evening stars are Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus and Venus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include American Red Cross founder Clara Barton in 1821; hotelier Conrad Hilton in 1887; Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley in 1890; actor Humphrey Bogart in 1899; Anwar Sadat, Egyptian president/Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in 1918; actor Gary Sandy in 1945 (age 74); singer Jimmy Buffett in 1946 (age 73); singer Barbara Mandrell in 1948 (age 71); actor Sissy Spacek in 1949 (age 70); political adviser Karl Rove in 1950 (age 69); actor CCH Pounder in 1952 (age 67); British singer Annie Lennox in 1954 (age 65); baseball Hall of Fame member Rickey Henderson in 1958 (age 61); model/photographer Helena Christensen in 1968 (age 51); British singer Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong in 1971 (age 48); Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 1971 (age 48).
On this date in history:
In about 3 B.C., according to Christian belief, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Calendar miscalculations of the time make it impossible to be certain of the year.
In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned King William I of England.
In 1818, the first known Christmas carol was sung at Oberndorf, Austria. It was "Silent Night, Holy Night," composed by organist Franz Gruber and the Rev. Joseph Mohr.
In 1938, after auditioning numerous women for the role, producer David O. Selznick chose British actress Vivien Leigh to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind.
In 1941, British Hong Kong surrendered to Japanese forces.
In 1986, the hijackers of an Iraqi Airways Boeing 737 en route from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, exploded grenades, causing a fiery crash in Saudi Arabia. Sixty-seven of the 107 people aboard died.
In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president the day before Russia's Supreme Soviet (the name for the USSR's legislative bodies) voted to end the Soviet Union.
In 1995, actor-singer Dean Martin died at the age of 78.
In 2000, U.S. President Bill Clinton offered a Middle East peace plan that, among other things, included proposals for Israel to give up sovereignty over the Temple Mount and for Palestinians to surrender right of refugees to return to Israel.
In 2000, a fire broke out at a Christmas party at an unlicensed disco in Luoyang, China, killing more than 300 people.
In 2003, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf survived a second assassination attempt in a little over a week but 14 others were killed and 40 injured in a suicide attack.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI revealed a new-style nativity scene in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square. It depicted Jesus' birth in Joseph's house, with no mention of a manger or journey to Bethlehem. The Christmas scene was apparently based on St. Matthew's version of the nativity.
In 2009, a 23-year-old Nigerian man was charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner with explosives hidden in his underwear on Christmas Day. The bomb failed to detonate and he was quickly subdued.
In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to fighting in war-torn Syria. "I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced," the pope said in his Christmas message. "May peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims."
In 2013, at the Vatican, Pope Francis, in his first Christmas message as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, spoke out against wars that "shatter and hurt so many lives" and called on the opposing sides in the Syrian conflict to "guarantee access to humanitarian aid." In Baghdad, car bombs, including one near a Catholic church and another a half-mile away, at a place where Christians gather, killed 37 people and wounded dozens.
In 2016, an aging jetliner belonging to the Russian government crashed into the Black Sea off the country's west coast, killing more than 90 people, including journalists and members of a prominent military choir band.
A thought for the day: "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." -- clergyman/author Roy L. Smith