‘Twas the Night before Christmas………..53 years ago

“We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth”
Raziel Abulafia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Placing the spacecraft in lunar orbit had not been easy. Compounding the difficulty, the engine firing, which would put the spacecraft in the right spot, had to happen while the spacecraft was out of contact with Earth, on the far side of the moon. But the crew remained focused, and Apollo 8 made it into lunar orbit right on schedule. Then, as millions around the world were watching and listening, the Apollo 8 astronauts – Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders – became the first humans to orbit another world. As their command module floated above the lunar surface, the astronauts shared their impressions with others, via a public broadcast. Borman called the moon a “vast, lonely, forbidding type of existence,” while Lovell paid tribute to the Earth’s “grand ovation to the vastness of space.”

Each astronaut then took turns reading from the book of Genesis,

Bill Anders

“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.'”

Jim Lovell

“And God called the light Day, and the 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 which were
under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the
morning were the second day.”

Frank Borman

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven 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 called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.'”

Borman then concluded

” 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.”


© DJM 2021