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Miracles, Apollo 8, and Christmas

miraclesHow improbable miracles seem, even right in our midst, even changing our destiny, even altering our perspective, begging us take account.  Still, we hurry on.  We have chores to do, worries to attend, distractions to indulge, things to put first.  Then comes Christmas.

Once again, Luke’s voice echoes, the angel and heavenly host, proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace among men.”  How unlikely those words seem, as if spoken from space, blithely bidding us be our best, not our worst, urging faith in goodness, hope, and Him.

For a moment, the world’s worries, social media, truculence, trivia, and tawdry nature disappear.  We are again alone, under that lone star, looking back once more in awe and wonder.

Fifty-two years ago, from a place in space no man had been, words crackled back to Earth.  On Christmas Eve 1968, Apollo 8’s crew – Jim Lovell, later to command Apollo 13, Frank Borman, and Bill Anders, spoke to the largest audience in human history, quarter of the world.

They had just witnessed an “Earthrise,” our planet emerging from behind the moon.  Everything they knew fit under one thumb.  The moment was surreal, as improbable as any other miracle. Said NASA that Christmas Eve, “Do something appropriate.”  So, they did.

They read from the Bible.  Mankind had never been so far away, so much of the heavens, so big and so small.  They had escaped Earth’s pull, and suddenly the world was just a dot.

Bill Anders spoke first. “For all the people on Earth,” he said, “the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.”  With that, he turned to Genesis.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said: Let there be light, and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness.”

As Anders read, the crew came into the light and watched a green-blue ball appear against the vast blackness of space, subject of the words they spoke.  Anders’ words trailed off.

Jim Lovell, an eagle scout who once pledged, “On my honor, I will do my best to God and my country,” picked up the thread. “And God called the light Day, and darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said:  Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament and divided the waters ….” As Lovell read, the “heavens” surrounded him.

Last, Borman.  “And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called the Seas, and God saw that it was good.”

Borman added: “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

These many years later, Apollo 8’s Genesis reading may seem distant, endearing but quaint, a miracle within a miracle when we still believed in miracles, not now relevant.

Only that is the point:  Miracles are always relevant, always worth pause – especially at Christmas.  We move so fast, dodge and dash, forget things as profound as an Earthrise to human eyes, star-filled skies, words read from deep space – about God’s love for Man.

So, if you get a chance, listen again to those epic words read – half a century ago, from beyond the moon.  Think about the power of faith to make the impossible possible. Remember the angel’s words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace among men.” https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=apollo+8+christmas+audio&docid=608032769605371139&mid=66BB507FDFE6E0FB222566BB507FDFE6E0FB2225&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

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J. RONALD Winter
8 months ago

I WORKED ON THE SATURN/APOLLO 8 PROJECT IN HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA. I WORKED IN THE STRUCTURAL DYNAMICS GROUP WHOSE TASK WAS TO PERFORM A DYNAMIC OF THE COMPLETE VEHICLE. IT WAS A TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY. I GOT TO WORK WITH SOME OF THE GREATEST ENGINEERS IN THE WORLD. I WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT THIS FOR THE VIRGINIA TECH NEWSPAPER SEVERAL YEARS AGO. I WILL TRY TO FORWARD AMAC A COPY. I WAS BLESSED. RON WINTER

Phil Hammersley
9 months ago

Great story about a great event! Can you imagine if an astronaut read from the Bible today? The media and the Left (I repeat myself) would go ballistic!

Di B
9 months ago

When I was a child, I watched as much as I possibly could of all the astronauts adventures, getting up in the middle of the night to join my Dad in front of the television. This one was my favorite, on Christmas Eve, and then as now, when I hear this reading and see the images from space, I get chills and marvel at the miracle of it all! Thank you for this article and the link to listen to this once again!

Jeanette Fenton
9 months ago

love this. Especially in these times. Thank you.

CATHERINE HORNSEY
9 months ago

The shame is we would not be allowed to hear this today.

Carol DeWitt
9 months ago

Thank you. It is good to be reminded that, no matter what, God is still in control

Brenda Blunt
9 months ago

Memorable. Praise God!!

Dennis
9 months ago

I felt those words when I first heard them 52 years ago, and I still feel them today as I read them. Thank you, Mr. Charles, for the reminder of wo we are..

RBC
9 months ago
Reply to  Dennis

Thank you Dennis… very kich, for reading.

RBC
9 months ago
Reply to  RBC

*Very much

Jeff Schubert
9 months ago

Awesome message! I just pray that many more people will hear this message and try and live by it!

Paul Farmer
9 months ago

Thank you for such a great and courageous article! My wife and I were married in October of 1968. That Christmas, the most people in the world (up to that time) watched the broadcast. Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders orbited the moon 10 times and the entire crew read from the bible or prayed while us on earth prayed with and for them. They were were national heroes. It was a glorious Christmas. Back then, the US was a Christian nation, proudly “under God”. Sure, we sinned, but we realized we were sinners. Your article was a call to come back and acknowledge God. It was so refreshing.

Paul 400.png
gin
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Farmer

Prayer was disallowed in public schools in 1963, We may have slid so far percentage wise that God may be letting us make our clear choice between His rules and those of Satan. Many predictions through out scripture have already happened and others are so obviously close.

Linda King
9 months ago
Reply to  gin

He’s coming. I can’t wait!

Sharon Harrigan
9 months ago

I read the article, watched the video, heard the reading and wept. God’s magnificent creation, this earth we live on.

Darlene Joy Gwilliam
9 months ago

I never heard this when I was a child and am glad because now I truly appreciate what was said and now it is now burned in my heart. One of the most beautiful things, I’ve ever heard!

John A. Fallon
9 months ago

SEND THIS TO THE MEMBERS OF SCOTUS, THEY NEED A WAKE UP CALL!!! GOD BLESS ALL!!!! AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

Donna Hatten
9 months ago

Loved this article. I worked all the Apollo and Gemini shots at the Cape and would have worked for nothing just for the privilege of being able to see history in the making. I wish everyone could witness these shots from the Cape in person as it takes on a whole new meaning when that rocket lifts off and you can feel your insides shaking just from noise it creates. GOD IS GREAT

Marty
9 months ago

How refreshing to read your biblical message as well as to step back to that message sent in 1968.

Sharon
9 months ago

Simply thank you. God is truly sovereign.

Esther
9 months ago

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

Rem
9 months ago

AMAC,
Well done! Inspiring. APOLLO 8 written by Jeffrey Kruger is a wonderful book on this whole mission. The American space program was a uniting effort. It was such an exciting experience. Mr. Charles, Merry Christmas! Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Mark

RBC
9 months ago
Reply to  Rem

Mark, thank you so much. Means a lot. Thank you. V/R

Margie
9 months ago

Thank you, AMAC. What an uplifting message amid the ugly news that’s out there.

Steven W. Anderson
9 months ago

Wow, impressive.

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