Over 200 years ago in 1816, the beloved Christmas hymn, Silent Night was heard for the first time in Austria at a Christmas Eve Mass in Oberndorf.
The Napoleonic Wars had ravaged Europe and as in all wars, the families were desperate for peace and a sense of normalcy. We’re desperate this year also for a sense of normalcy after the worst of the pandemic, the closing of the war in Afghanistan, and all the political strife around the world.
The story is that a priest, unable to sleep over concern for his parishioners went for a midnight walk and was overcome by the aura of his town’s quiet, snow-laden streets. “He (Joseph Mohr) was inspired . . . the town was at peace.” Joseph penned the words to Silent Night after his midnight walk. He played his guitar and sang along with his choir director at his church’s Christmas Eve service. An organ builder and repair man on hearing these rwo young men practicing, took a copy of this song to his home village where it was picked up by two traveling folk singer families.
The message of peace and the endearing tune spread from town to town and was played for the King of Prussia and his international guests. In 1839, Silent Night debuted at Trinity Church in New York City. The carol continued to evolve and was translated into over 300 language
The message of peace and hope is always popular. What message are you spreading this Christmas?
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, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly host sing Allelujah. Christ, the savior is born, Christ the savior is born.
Silent night, holy night, son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord at thy birth, Jesus, Lord at thy birth