On Christmas Eve, 1988, Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and
William Anders were broadcast live on American television. As they displayed
pictures of the Earth and Moon as seen from Apollo 8, Command module pilot Jim
Lovell said, “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you
realize just what you have back there on Earth.”
They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the first
10 verses of the book of Genesis.
Lunar module pilot William Anders said:
“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
Jim Lovell continued:
“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.”
Commander Frank Borman finished the reading with:
“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 he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”
Borman then 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
Like the Apollo 8 astronauts, King David the psalmist was struck by the
majesty of the starry night sky and wrote:
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the
stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and
the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower
than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:3-5,
The question, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” takes on new
meaning in the New Testament, where we learn that our heavenly Father loves
humanity so much that he sent his Son to become human, taking all human sin on
himself and destroying it so that through the Holy Spirit humans can share in
the eternal relationship of love that Jesus shares with the Father.
May the awe-inspiring beauty of the vast creation forever remind us that we
belong to the One whose love for us will never cease.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.