Those who don’t care for spiritual things might not want to read any further. I had several inbound posts and articles on Christmas Eve that all connected together.
My Christmas Eve notes started with a couple of social media posts from a prominent business man here in Orlando.
“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the important."
“As life gets longer our Christmas list gets shorter. The things we want most money can’t buy: Family, real friends, and health.”
Neither of these post specifically mention Jesus, but he’s there. Right there in the name of the season and the selflessness. The Christmas season has an impact on almost everyone. Christmas changes people.
Next came messages about Christmas Eve 2018 being the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 orbit around the moon. During this orbit, astronauts witnessed an earth rise. I can’t imagine the concept. Three human beings seeing their home rise from a small lunar capsule window. Seeing earth rise, must have been awe-filled and some what intimidating. Our physical existence depends on the perfect conditions of earth.
Continue reading after the image from NASA of the Apollo 8 earth rise from 1968.
The astronauts on Apollo 8 on December 24, 1968 took turns reading from the book of Genesis. Upon seeing earth from moon orbit they turned to Genesis. How appropriate for these men of science to recognize the creation story at this moment.
As I discovered these details about Apollo 8, I started to think about how Jesus was born approximately 2000 years ago, but he was here from the beginning. To confirm my memory of Bible studies from the past, I did a bit of Google research and I found Genesis 1:26.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Us and Our. Genesis 1:26 says “us/our” image. When I’m doing something by myself, I don’t typically use a plural determiner. I suspect that Jesus was the other persona that created the necessity to use the words “us/our” in Genesis 1:26.
Christmas changes people and while the first astronauts orbited the moon on Christmas Eve 1968 the Christmas season must have impacted them and their collective decision to read from Genesis.
My favorite and what I think the most poetic verse in the Bible is from John 1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1 is were I landed as Christmas Eve 2018 turned into evening. This text from John reflects back to Genesis, it captures the life dependent power of Jesus and it highlights the contrast from 1968 between light and darkness that the American astronauts witnessed.
I hope this Christmas season changed you. Merry Christmas!