“Silent Night”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Silent Night, Holy Night”
Read: Luke 1:46-56

Last week I shared the story of the song “O Holy Night” and so I thought maybe I would share the history of several other Christmas songs that we have come to love.  Last night I attended a concert in which everyone in attendance ended the evening by singing the calming and peaceful hymn “Silent Night, Holy Night.”

We often shorten the title to just “Silent Night” but in it’s original form the title also includes “Holy Night.”  We have to believe that Mary experienced many of these silent and holy nights leading up to our Savior’s birth.  In this passage from Luke 1 we hear her own song which is filled with praise, expectation, and deliverance.

The original song “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” was born on Christmas Eve in Oberndorf, Austria back in 1818.  The organ in the church was broken and so an assistant priest (Joseph Mohr) decided that a new Christmas song was needed that did not require the organ.  He took his words to the organist (Franz Gruber) and asked him if he could create a tune for the lyrics.  He did and the two sang this song for the first time with only a guitar.

The hymn was then picked up, interestingly enough, by an organ repairman who spread it around and made it popular throughout Europe.  The first English translation was first published in 1863.  When erroneous reports surfaced that gave credit for the song to Mozart and Haydn, Gruber quickly told this now familiar story of the carol’s birth. (found in the Hymnal Companion book, Faith and Life Press, in our church library)

Through the years I have heard many stories about how this particular carol has inspired restoration, reunion, peace, and hope.  I often wonder if one of the reasons it is such a favorite is because it brings a peaceful calm to what often ends up being a hurried Christmas season.

I hope you can find some Silent night’s this month to remember the holiness of this season and keep the celebration in it’s proper perspective.  Hopefully we can sing along with Mary when she says, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Make It Personal:  The next time you hear “Silent Night, Holy Night” think of Mary when she heard the news that she was going to carry God’s Son Jesus into the world.  What would you say in your song if you were chosen for such a calling?

Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church