NASA Memories

As someone in primary school when the “space race” started, Astronauts and space travel were part of the excitement of growing up.

I wasn’t aware of most of the early manned NASA missions, but I recall when some of the Apollo missions were brought to class attention by a student teacher.
I’m not sure which mission was the first we followed, but the interest was maintained until the early moon landings starting with Apollo 11.

What I remember most about that first landing, was being in a crowded Catholic Club, where a small black and white TV was surrounded by club patrons as we waited to see man land on the moon for the first time. It must have been a weekend night, and my dad’s cricket team had gathered there for post-match drinks with their families.
From memory the TV coverage wasn’t anything exciting – and I seem to recall that the actual landing was broadcast as a message of text across the screen, telling us that “Eagle has landed”. In a way it was an anticlimax. Where were the pictures?

I don’t recall when I first saw any actual footage of Armstrong and Aldrin stepping onto the moon. I have a feeling it was a long time after the event.

Over the decades my interest in the space program remained, not obsessively enough to follow everything going on, but enough to keep an eye on major developments. I was also interested enough that had the impossible happened, and I’d been given the chance to board a NASA mission, I wouldn’t have hesitated. At the time, I even believed I would have eagerly boarded a shuttle mission the day after the Challenger explosion if I’d been given the opportunity.

Now approaching 60, even the wildest dream of becoming an astronaut has long gone, and my age would be the least of the disqualifying factors.
I’ve recently been listening to a series on NASA podcasts that have included details of Astronaut selection. Apparently, for the latest recruitment intake of 12, they received 18,000 applications. Those finally selected had multiple degrees, and an incredible breadth of extreme life experience. After listening to the podcast I had to wonder how any individual could fit so much into the first decade or two of adult life.

[https://www.nasa.gov/johnson/HWHAP]

Today marks the 49th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 8, crewed by Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders (Lovell would later go on to greater fame as the commander of the almost disastrous Apollo 13 mission).

Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to leave earth’s orbit, and its crew were the first men to travel to the moon and back.

 

Entering lunar orbit on Christmas eve, the crew each read parts of the creation account from Genesis 1.

 

the Significance of Christmas

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Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’ (Luke 1)

Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2)

What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?’ Pilate asked them.
‘Crucify him!’ they shouted. (Mark 15)

This Christmas, remember there is more to Jesus than a baby in a manger.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

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While the time of year may be wrong to celebrate His birth, it is never wrong to celebrate Jesus, as long as we celebrate Him for the right reason and for who He actually is.

At Christmas the focus tends to be on baby Jesus, meek and mild, but here are some of the more neglected things that scripture tells us in its account of Jesus’ birth. To me they describe a Jesus far different to the one commonly  portrayed at Christmas.

“… you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end”

“… that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

“there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ”

“…she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against …that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”

 

 

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After today I’ll be away for two weeks and any comments will have to wait for moderation until after my return.

And over this period when so many celebrate christmas in ways that give Jesus so little thought (or if they do think of Him they think of a baby in a manger), my prayer is that more will see Him as the crucified King who could not be held by death. The Messiah, risen and seated at theFather’s right hand, who will one day return to rule.

 

The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,lest  He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.