Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace
SILENT NIGHT AND WHY IT SOOTHES OUR SOULS
Exactly two hundred years ago in 1818 on Christmas Eve, at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria, disaster struck. Mice had chewed on the wires of the organ bellows and created mayhem. Ruining the church organ on Christmas eve. Forcing the Reverend of the church, Joseph Mohr, to scramble to find music for the evenings worship service.
Not to be undone by a few mice, Reverend Mohr quickly gathered his wits and decided he would create a new song. A song that could be played on a guitar. A song that would become the hallmark of Christmas Eve, throughout the world.
In his study, Mohr quickly penned the lyrics to Silent Night. He then asked famed composer Franz Gruber to create the melody for the song. In moments of haste, the most famous of all Christmas songs was created. By two resourceful people under duress.
Over the years, the original manuscript was lost and the identity of the original writer was unknown. In 1995, the original manuscript was found and Reverend Mohr was credited with writing the words. Franz Gruber went on to a successful career as a composer and musician.
Since that time, the song has been translated into three hundred languages. As well as, its simple melody has been made to fit music for one player or an entire orchestra. Today, many performing artists have recorded the song, from Kelly Clarkson to the Temptations. If you go to YouTube you will find pages of renditions.
A simple set of lyrics combined with a soulful melody, created in haste, that is now the staple of all Candlelight services on Christmas Eve throughout the world. No denomination claims it as its hymn, it is just a universal statement of the purpose of Christmas for the whole world.
A reflection of the true spirit of Christmas. A song praising the arrival of God in human form. A song of peace and calm, with a melody that transcends language and cultural barriers.
A song sung by the whole world, from Austria to Africa and North America. A song that unifies our purpose and our world. For the brief moments we are present when Silent Night is sung at church with lit candles, we are mentally transported to feeling close to God and those with us.
A song that doesn’t require money or extraordinary efforts of our daily lives to be at peace. It only requires a heart of hope and expectancy for our future. A quiet time when we are surrounded by other people expressing their joy in the birth of Jesus. A peaceful and joy filled time amongst all the worries of the world.
This Christmas eve, why not visit a local church and attend the Christmas eve celebration. The service will end with the lighting of candles in the dark, symbolizing the lighting of the world with the arrival of our Lord, Jesus. Accompanied by the singing of Silent Night.
In a few brief moments the Spirit of Christmas will arrive.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
Photo by D A V I D S O N L U N A
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