On Christmas Eve of 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 read aloud from the book of Genesis as they circled the moon.
The astronauts of Apollo 8 were the first humans to reach and orbit the moon. Jim Lovell (later the commander on the ill-fated flight of Apollo 13) began by saying about the moon, “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.” After all three had read, the touching broadcast across 238,000 miles closed with Frank Borman saying, “Good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”
Lesser-known fact: wags at NASA mission control responded with their own version of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It wasn’t broadcast publicly, probably because of the shocking language:
“…Frank Borman was nestled all snug in his bed,
while visions of REFSMMAT’s danced in his head.”