Silent, Starry Night

On Christmas Eve forty years ago, three men traveled through a cold deeper than any on earth, to where the stars shone bright, and there was silence beyond silence.

On the Winter Solstice of 1968 the brave crew of Apollo 8 voyaged to the moon, reaching lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. There they saw what no one had ever seen, the dark side of the moon, and on the horizon, earthrise. They took the famous photo of our planet, hanging like a blue jewel in the endless blackness of space.

Borman, Lovell and Anders had been instructed to do whatever they felt was appropriate to mark the moment. A friend of Borman’s had suggested they read from the book of Genesis, and so its first 10 verses had been typed up on a piece of fireproof paper before the crew left Earth. They took turns reading aloud.

When they finished, Borman, as the skipper, concluded the broadcast: “And from the crew of Apollo 8,” he said, “we close with good night, good luck, a merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

Can’t beat that. Peace on Earth, goodwill to all, Shalom, Salaam and Blessings.


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