REPOST from 2008 (with slight updating): – I remember when the Apollo 8 astronauts went into space, right before Christmas in 1968. That was a rough year – Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were shot, Vietnam was a bloody stain on the other side of the world. Violence boiled over into the streets. As Christmas week opened, three men in a little metal capsule hurtled through space toward the moon.
The astronauts of Apollo 8 were the first humans to reach the orbit of another planetary body. As they streaked across the dark side of the moon on Christmas Eve, they turned on their TV camera. A live audience of millions heard the astronauts read from the Book of Genesis while we saw our bright blue planet rise gracefully above the lunar surface. We looked so fragile, so small – how can we not find a way to live together?
Today we have family and friends in the military, fighting wars on the other side of the world. In nearly every corner of the world, there are people who dream of making war. In our own country, mistrust and prejudice are alive and well. As we face a new year and new challenges, perhaps we can look at ourselves once again and learn a small lesson from the past.
So on Christmas day, this day of hope and promise, we leave you with Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman’s signoff from that night 40 years ago: “Good night, good luck, and a Merry Christmas to all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”
MP3: “Jingle Bells” by Celia Cruz (con la Sonora Matancera)
MP3: “Navidad” by the Gipsy Kings
MP3: “Jingle Bell Rock” by the Ventures
MP3: “On Christmas Day” by Brian Wilson
MP3: “Natal” by Cesaria Evora
MP3: “Boas Festas” by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso with Eliane Elias
MP3: “The Chanukkah Song” by Neil Diamond
MP3: “In The Quiet Of Christmas Morning” by the Moody Blues
MP3: “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” by the Crystals
MP3: “Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year” (Parts 1 and 2) by James Brown
MP3: “Mambo Santa Mambo” by the Enchanters
MP3: “The Rebel Jesus” by the Chieftains with Jackson Browne
MP3: “Fairytale Of New York” by the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
MP3: “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” by the Weavers
MP3: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (demo) by John Lennon
Free holiday downloads!
Free holiday downloads, courtesy of Paste magazine
More free holiday downloads at Amazon.com
Free holiday downloads from the Houston music scene, courtesy of the Houston Press
Best of 2011 free downloads from SPIN magazine