Today is Christmas Day in most churches around the world. The church decided on this date for celebrating the birth of Jesus in the 4th century, to coincide with the Roman winter solstice. The first recorded celebration of the festival took place in the year 336.
Literally the most unearthly Bible reading ever was given today in 1968. Circling the moon, the American astronauts of Apollo 8, the first people ever to travel to the moon, read part of the creation account of Genesis chapter 1 to the listening world, a quarter of a million miles away. They were also the first humans to see the Earth rising above the moon’s horizon (as captured above).
Today in 800, Charlemagne was crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III. He was praying at the altar in St Peter’s, Rome, when the Pope crept up from behind and crowned him as a surprise Christmas present, a little thank you for conquering half the tribes of Europe and imposing Christianity on them.
Today in 1066 another conqueror, William I, was crowned in Westminster Abbey, having invaded England with the backing of Pope Alexander II. Outside, the conquered English, thinking they knew which side their bread was buttered on, cheered. Unfortunately, William’s army of Norman meatheads took the cheer for a rebellion, poured out of church, and destroyed everything in the vicinity, which they far preferred to being in church anyway. Every English monarch since has been crowned there.
Image: Bill Anders/NASA, on Wikimedia Commons