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The Night Before Christmas When Astronauts Read From the Bible As They Orbited the Moon


Would video of Apollo 8 astronauts reading from Genesis be possible today?

One of the earliest attempts at Christmas censorship occurred in 1969, after the crew of Apollo 8 read from the Book of Genesis during a telecast of their moon orbit on December 24, 1968.

Apollo 8 was the first manned spaceship to leave the Earth’s orbit and the first to orbit the moon.  So when Apollo 8 reached the moon on Christmas Eve, about 2 billion people, the largest television audience in history at that time, tuned in to see this historic event as the astronauts broadcast images of the moon’s surface from the spacecraft.

I remember as a young boy, my family interrupting its Christmas celebrations that evening to watch the black and white images of the moon’s stark and beautiful surface.   The astronauts then took turns reading the first ten verses of the Book of Genesis as we watched the pictures of the lunar surface.  I remember the riveting effect of hearing, “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” as we watched the moon’s craters and plains pass by the windows of Apollo 8.  We went to bed that night with secure feelings of seeing ourselves as part of a created order much bigger than ourselves.

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