26 December 2018 – Boxing Day
On their fourth orbit of the moon, the astronauts aboard Apollo 8 had an extraordinary experience. Just before Christmas fifty years ago, they were the first people to see not a sunrise but an earth rise. Bill Anders took this photograph. Here you can see the earth rising above the moon. It is the first time anyone on earth had ever seen this!
On Christmas Eve 1968, they were orbiting the moon for the ninth time when they broadcast to the earth. About a quarter of the earth’s population heard them speak. They read the first words of the Bible, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ From this perspective, it is obvious that the earth is not the centre of the Universe but just another planet.
I have a framed copy of his photograph above my desk. It is a constant reminder to me to readjust my perspective and see things from God’s perspective and not my own. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ says St. John. And this is what we celebrate on Christmas Day.
The one who made the stars in space and gave the planets their orbits, came down to earth in the form of a little baby called Jesus. Just as the photograph of the earth taken from the surface of the moon makes us look small, so the picture of the baby laid in the manger makes God look small too! But it’s through smallness and helplessness that God’s work is done and the world will be saved!