Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

44 Years ago tonight, Apollo 8 was on the world's first mission to the moon. Like sailors sailing out of sight of land for the first time, man was leaving the safety of shore for the first time. We were becoming a space-faring population. Here on the ground 1968 had been a tumultuous year but we were united in watching the Apollo 8 mission in a way few things have united

I'll never forget that message they sent down, that Christmas eve.  Especially after roughly 1:00 into this video.  

Last year, I wrote:
Churches, like all groups, have personalities, and in the one I attend, it would be remarkable to toss a wadded up paper ball and not hit an engineer, nurse, doctor, or a other professional.  It's not news to this bunch that Jesus was probably born in the spring (or fall, depending on whom you read), that the December 25th date comes from adapting to the Roman Saturnalia or other pagan holidays; nor would they be shocked if you told them Christmas has more secular than holy traditions associated with it.  Not that we don't joyously celebrate the reason for the season, but Easter is a bigger holiday than Christmas for the simple reason that everyone has a birthday, but only one man in history has ever come back.  
Since then, I've heard another explanation for why December 25th was chosen.  It's close to the solstice, the longest night of the year - which made it the darkest night of the year in those days.  Jesus was the light of the world, and the symbolism of bringing light when things are at their darkest fits perfectly with the story.  Yes, it's become commercialized; shopping, food and football.  I love it anyway.  Thank the masters of Madison Avenue - propagandists, really - who have learned how to push so many people's buttons - to get us to buy things.

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
-- Dr. Seuss
So however you mark this day, enjoy it well.  Spend time with family or friends or both.  Things are not important; people are what it's about.  If you're LEO, or fire; Nurse or MD, and are one who must work so the rest of us may rest, thank you.


  1. I remember watching them, and hearing them read Genesis.

    We all thought it appropriate, and laughed at that old bag Madelyn Murray O'Hair when she complained about it.

    My, how times change.....

  2. Oh, and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. Ah yes, and the word Easter is considered to be a transliteration of Ishtar, a goddess & celebration of fertility.

    Which is why many prefer Resurrection Day over Easter for a name - same day - entirely different meaning.

    For Christmas the actual day is not really relevant, the observance is a commeration or celebration of a divine event.


  4. 'why December 25th was chosen'
    It was not originally a classical celebration. The Romans merely took the day already observed for thousands of years by many ancient Europeans and turned it into their own celebration (the Saturnalia). December was the first day after the winter solstice where the ancients could with their primitive time keeping actually measure an increase in day length.
    As far as Easter is concerned – it is also the name of a Celtic goddess, but who knows – it could refer to just about anything.
    Merry Christmas.

  5. I was just discharged from the hospital. I was pleased to see the staff was upbeat and looking to celebrate the remainder of the day.

    1. Congratulations on getting out. Hospitals are nasty places to be at any time.

      Back in what seems like an entire lifetime ago, I worked briefly in that world. People going into those fields realize the job requires someone 24/7/365, and tend to just accept it.

  6. I worked for Col. Borman at Eastern many years ago. Spoke with him several times. We actually started on the same day in 1970. Also met his wife, Sue once at their home.

    Thanks for the post and binging back memories.