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Bob Lind, Published December 23 2013

45 years ago, a biblical Christmas Eve message in first broadcast from moon's orbit

Many of you were gathered around the TV set 45 years ago tonight to watch an epic event.

It was Christmas Eve 1968, the day Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit.

The astronauts were Commander Frank Borman, command module pilot Jim Lovell and lunar module pilot William Anders.

That night the astronauts did a live television broadcast from, incredibly for that time, lunar orbit, showing pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from Apollo 8.

“The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring, and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” Lovell said.

Then the crew ended the broadcast by taking turns reading from the biblical book of Genesis.

While it does not mention the birth of Jesus, which Christmas celebrates, still it was a powerful reading from outer space on that Christmas Eve.

It opened with Anders saying, “For all the people on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you:”

“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.”

Lovell then picked it up:

“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.”

Borman then read:

“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 called the ‘seas;’ and God saw that it was good.”

Borman concluded the telecast on behalf of the crew by saying, “Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

And now, 45 years later, from a tiny spot on that good Earth called Fargo-Moorhead, this column also says Merry Christmas, and may God bless all of you neighbors.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com