Forty years ago, we were at the end of a hard year. 1968 was the year everything, seemingly, came apart.
White hatred killed Martin Luther King Jr. Arab hatred killed Bobby Kennedy. Ghettos burned across America, part of a spasm of inner-city violence that spanned the last half of the 1960s, off and on, and from which those communities never recovered.
THERE WERE student riots in Paris and police riots in Chicago. A communist offensive on the lunar new year convinced Americans that we really couldn't win in Vietnam and added the word Tet to our national vocabulary.
The world. Hell. Handbasket.
1968 was a year of grace, too. The video above depicts a big one we received on Christmas Eve -- God speaking to the world through His Word and three astronauts -- Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders -- circling the moon in an Apollo spaceship. Apollo 8, it was.
I was 7 . . . almost 8. I knew about Bobby Kennedy, and about Martin, and about the war. But it's grace that cuts through the chaotic noise when you're a kid. That was especially true in the '60s, which really were The Wonder Years, when we followed the space program like kids today follow . . . what?
1968 and 2008 -- radically different times unified in chaos and uncertainty. And the need for a little grace at Christmastime.