…and to all a Silent Night

“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 hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour 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 ”

The composer of this cherished Christmas carol was Franz Xaver Gruber and the lyrics were written by Joseph Mohr. It was composed especially for the parish, St. Nicholas’ Christmas Eve service in 1818 in the small Austria town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg.

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Today a chapel stands, named the “Silent Night Memorial Chapel” paying homage to the hymn and the men who creatively brought it into being especially for the Christmas Eve service. Because the organ was broken the hymn was to be sung to the accompaniment of a guitar.

Mohr, a young priest, had written the lyrics two years before but was reminded of his poem when heading home the night before Christmas Eve. Having just seen a traveling group of actors perform the nativity from the scriptures the nativity was utmost in his mind.

When he topped a hill and saw the silent and snow-covered village below him Mohr felt compelled to have the lyrics he’d penned set to music by the following night. God brought about a musical miracle and “Silent Night” is perhaps the most beloved Christian Christmas Hymn in history.

Can you see the young priest topping that hill and looking down into a snow covered village silent and serene in the moonlight? I can. I can imagine the awe he must have felt. How in tune with God his soul was in those minutes.

We all have our “Silent Night” minutes I believe and we all need them. We need those minutes when our hearts are silent except for the voice of God speaking to us. When out of the silence we are spiritually aware that God is real, He is with us, He will never forsake us.

Sometimes these minutes come when we top physical hilltops and look out over the woods and valley shining and shadowed by the moon and stars. Sometimes these minutes come when we are in worship and a hymn or song is sung and our hearts are opened to God’s spirit.

Sometimes these minutes come when we look out our back windows and see our own yards mysterious and wonderful beneath an icy winter moon. Sometimes they don’t happen near Christmas time at all.

For one young couple, a new baby entrusted to their care, their silent night was from the entry way of a stable overlooking the City of Bethlehem. For a group of shepherds tending their flocks near Bethlehem it was brought by a chorus of angels sent by God to announce Jesus’ birth.

It’s different for all of us, but just as precious. May you have a Silent Night moment this Christmas!

Wishing you a “Silent Night”,

–Faye

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