I was 10 years old on December 24, 1968: Christmas Eve!
I was sure excited, as any self-respecting 10-year-old would be on Christmas Eve, but that year was to be different for me. My family didn’t watch TV on Christmas Eve; my Mom wouldn’t hear of it, nor would my older sister, but that year, my Dad “pulled rank” and turned our set on, and you couldn’t have pried me away from it if you wanted to.
My Dad was an engineer who had worked on the Apollo Program, and on that historic day, the first manned spacecraft to reach lunar orbit had begun to orbit the Moon. The crew would speak to the nation that Christmas Eve from Apollo 8, more than a quarter million miles from Earth.
The crew and TV commentators did their job of reporting on this great scientific achievement, and I would have been quite satisfied at that, but Mission Commander Frank Borman took things just a little beyond the news at the end of the broadcast when he began to read these words:
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.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
He continued reading for a little longer before signing off, and though I don’t recall just how far he got into Genesis chapter one that night, I do recall how his reading of it made me think…
For a 10-year-old, the impact of an astronaut hero reading the Bible on Christmas Eve from lunar orbit is something of a mind-blower! I remember laying awake in my bed that night, but I was no longer dreaming of presents around the tree, I was thinking about space, God, creation and the baby in the manger.
In the days that followed, I started reading Genesis secretly; I didn’t want anybody commenting about my new reading material just yet; this was my quest to understand the meaning of things, a quest I still pursue. To know the God who created the universe, to know His Son who came to this Earth for the forgiveness of my many sins and to serve His purpose…
There just isn’t much more to be said, is there?
It still blows my mind.