On Christmas Eve of December 24th, 1968, the American people and all the world were treated to one of the grandest, most unusual Christmas gifts ever to be given to man. It was a season to be proud that we are Americans when our American astronauts, the first to make the hazardous voyage in a tiny space ship around the dark side of the Moon, delivered the Genesis story of God's creation while folks watched the awesome spectacle 'round their Christmas trees awaiting the visit of old St. Nick.
For a long time the Bible story of the Creation has been rather ignored, almost in the same light as a fairy tale or fable. Yet here were the bravest, foremost adventurers of the new Space Age of Exploration, steering, much like Columbus in a darker age, their tiny heavenly bark on the longest, most hazardous voyage man has ever dared to venture forth on into the vast unknown of the universe. These were men of science the highest echelon yet to them the Bible story of the Creation seemed to be the most suitable answer to the awesome, enigmatic spectacle that was unfolding for the first time before human eyes.
The drab and dreary Moonscapes, ugly-pocked with numerous meteorite craters, the vast, dry and uninviting mares or Moon seas, the endless, uninhabited deserts of utter nothingness were passing below them. Truly the Moon was no place to live, a mere orb of colorless gray, like dirty beach sand or plaster, suitable for only what God had intended it a reflector of the sun's rays giving forth soft light to the earth and man at night. The darkness around them was appalling. To them the good Earth looked like an emerald a floating jewel of beauty, a place full of goodness for man. All the sordid stories about man's wickedness, the perpetual warfare, the riots, the race prejudice, the griping and bitterness of earth men was all forgotten in the splendor of it all.
'God created the heaven and the earth and called them good. God created the light and separated it from the darkness and called it good.' Our astronauts spoke with conviction as they read the Bible story of the Creation, word for word, honoring God for permitting them success in their grandest adventure. The first humans to ever reach the Moon were Americans, and they chose to preach the first sermon ever delivered from the Moon which they used as a pulpit to remind the world below of the Glory of God on the very Eve of Christmas when, two thousand years before, God gave the world His greatest gift a Savior that men might have life more abundantly.
It was all so symbolic, so fitting that our fellow Americans should do this. Though sending the Moon rocket around the Moon cost some thirty-two millions of dollars, everyone in our land was afforded a view of the grandest spectacle man ever ventured forth to explore. It was the cheapest tax money we'd ever spent. It won more good will for America than all the wars we ever have fought throughout history. It might even have prevented some battles in the future, were we only wise enough to know it. The few cents each will have to pay personally out of his pocket to finance the grand adventure will not be begrudged, simply because at that it was much cheaper than box office charges for many a shabby show we've been known to endure.
Once again we can be proud to be Americans. We can rejoice that our men had faith in the God of Creation sufficient to honor Him and credit Him with the glory that is His on the very eve when our thoughts should always honor Him in thanksgiving and praise. It was as if the Americans dedicated the Moon to God not unlike the early explorers carrying crosses into the vast wildernesses of our American continent centuries before.
Thank God for America and thank America for renewing the world's faith in God as creator of both the Moon and the good, good Earth.
Had the Russians beaten us there, they'd have capped their triumph by proclaiming, 'We don't see God.'
What a miserable Christmas Eve that would have been. Thank God it wasn't!