“Ghosts of Christmas Past”
(from Charles Dickens “Christmas Carol” in 1843)
At Christmas, people all over the world pause to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We gather with family, exchange gifts, and hopefully read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20). It’s a day of celebration! In 1950 during the Korean War, President Harry Truman reminded the nation of the importance of Christmas, and also urged them to remember those who served us in the military and would not be home for Christmas:
Many have forgotten the humble surroundings of the nativity and how, from a straw-littered stable, shone a light which for nearly 20 centuries has given men strength, comfort, and peace. At this Christmastime we should renew our faith in God. We celebrate the hour in which God came to man. It is fitting that we should turn to Him. Many of us are fortunate enough to celebrate Christmas at our own fireside. But there are many others who are away from their homes and loved ones on this day.
Our history abounds with examples of those who could not be home for Christmas. Usually this was because of an ongoing war, but there were other reasons as well. In fact, there have been times when they could not be home because they were not even on the planet!
The astronauts of Apollo 8 (the first manned mission to the moon) entered orbit around the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968. (Pictured here is one of the photos they took, showing Earth rising above the moon on Christmas Eve.) While circling the moon, the three astronauts hosted a live telecast in which all three read from Genesis 1 and then Frank Borman delivered a special Christmas greeting.
Give us, O God, the vision
Which can see Thy love in the world
In spite of human failure.
This document is an amazing example of how Christmas has been celebrated not only here on Earth but also in space as well!