Still waiting for Santa

‘Please be informed, there is a Santa Claus”
Command Module Pilot James Lovell, Apollo 8, Christmas 1968

Boys watch Christmas Eve broadcast from Apollo 8 astronauts in space[Christmas Eve, 1968 Boys watch broadcast from Apollo 8 astronauts in space, Virginia.
Image: Bruce Dale/National Geographic Society/Getty Images]

James A. Jr. Lovell[Apollo 8 astronaut James A. Lovell. Image: Time Life Pictures/NASA/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images]

On 21 December 1968, Apollo 8 launched into space and its astronauts – Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders, became the first people to orbit the Moon.

On Christmas Eve, the crew made a TV broadcast beaming back images of the Earth and the Moon and reading verses from the book of Genesis. The program was seen by ”the largest audience that had ever listened to a human voice”.

Liftoff of Apollo 8.  (Photo by Ralph Mo[Image: Ralph Morse/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images]

Lovell On The Phone[Marilyn Lovell talks on the telephone while she keeps a portable radio close at hand to hear updates on Apollo 8.
Image: Yale Joel/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images]

Lovell Raises A Glass[Marilyn Lovell raises a glass to toast her husband. Image: Lynn Pelham/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images]

Christmas With The Lovells[During his Apollo 8 space flight, the family of astronaut James Lovell watches his progress on television in Houston.
From left, wife Marilyn, sons Jeffrey and James III (in orange), and daughter Susan.
Image: Lynn Pelham/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images]

Earth rising by Apollo 8 in Moon orbit[Earth rising by Apollo 8 in Moon orbit. Image: Photo12/UIG/Getty Images]

Truth be told, I don’t remember any of this – I was only a baby in 1968. Μoreover, Santa Claus is bringing gifts to Greek kids on New Year’s Eve, not on Christmas Eve. His name is Agios Vassilis [‘Αγιος Βασίλης] – Saint Basil and he is from Caesarea in Asia Minor.

It is said that St Basil was a bishop in Caesarea. He was a kind man who helped those in need and provided practical aid to the poor. He was thus considered as someone who ”brings gifts”. St Basil died on 1 January 379 AD and to honour him, the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates his memory on that day.

This is why Agios Vassilis is coming on New Year’s Eve and my sock is still waiting to be filled with presents!

For more of these amazing images please go to Mashable.



4 thoughts on “Still waiting for Santa

  1. Thanks for sharing this story. I guess the interesting thing is the universal: every country seems to have its specific saint, while these are all manifestations of the idea of generosity. Have nice days!

    • True, no matter the name or date, it’s the idea that counts. Just as long as Santa or whatever-his-name is not accompanied by Krampus! 🙂
      I wish you a happy break too and hope your sock was filled with all the goodies you wished for – unless, no strike that, especially if you’ve been naughty!

  2. How large is that stocking and what are you dreaming of for the Greek Orthodox Christmas? I see gorgeous shoes in your future, an excellent bottle of wine — plus travel vouchers. XO

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