At 2:55 AM (Houston time) Apollo 8 was go for LOI (Lunar Orbit Insertion) burn. After travelling 234,000 miles the crew of Apollo 8 were about to go into a 69 mile orbit of the moon which called for amazing navigational precison only possible with help from Houston control. The simulator joke back home was that coming around the dark side of the moon was a 70 mile mountain. As the astronauts encountered LOS (Loss of Signal) right on the second predicted, the spacecraft was submerged into darkness and the sky became so full of stars that they could not recognize the constellations.
As the astronauts came around the other side of the moon, they saw a sight never before seen by man. They watched as the good earth rose above the surface of the moon, earthrise.
At 8:11 PM (Houston time) the astronauts put on the first television Christmas special from the moon. It was not politically correct, but for any who watched it, the Anders, Borman and Lovell production on Christmas Eve would never be forgotten.
Click to listen to the original broadcast from Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve.