They named him “Christmas”
Perhaps the greatest Baptist preacher that Great Britain ever produced was the Welsh preacher Christmas Evans. Born on Christmas Day 1766 into an impoverished home, he lost his father when only nine years old, and spent the next few years with a disreputable uncle. When he was 15 he still couldn’t read but when he was 18 he was converted and joined the Presbyterians. He was six feet tall and His very presence spoke of leadership and they urged him to preach. The development of his untrained mind is an amazing story. He learned to read his Welsh Bible in one month. He read every book in the scant local libraries. “He became skilled in Hebrew, Greek and English.” With a desire to expose the Anabaptists, he studied the New Testament carefully and came to the conclusion that there were no verses that taught infant sprinkling and at least forty for baptism on profession of faith. In 1788 Christmas was immersed in the River Duar by the Rev. Timothy Thomas. He began a pastoral ministry until he was called to the Isle of Anglesea in 1791. There were two chapels and 8 preaching stations. Spiritual deadness prevailed when he began his 35 year ministry. In a short time the Isle was revived, and by 1826 the preaching stations multiplied to scores, and 28 preachers flooded the Isle with the message of grace. He traveled to Velin Voel for an associational meeting in 1794. After two ministers had addressed the assembly in the heat of the open air, Christmas Evans was asked to speak. He spoke for 3 hours on the Demoniac of Gadara. This became his landmark sermon. He lost an eye early in life but the one eye it was said was like a brilliant star, it shined like Venus. On his death bed, he waved his hand as if with Elijah in the chariot of fire, and cried the words of an old Welsh hymn: “Wheel about, coachman, drive on!”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 295-97.