“Silent Night”

Read: St. Matthew 2:1-2; St. Luke 2:11, 16-18 

In their village high in the Austrian Alp Mountains, a Catholic priest and his organist often talked about the hymns their church sang. They agreed that the perfect Christmas hymn had not yet been written. Then, just before Christmas in 1818, the church organ broke down. Suddenly, they needed a new hymn that could be easily sung by the congregation, even without a booming organ to lead them.

Joseph Mohr, the priest, took up the challenge and quickly wrote the words for “Silent Night.” He handed them to Franz Gruber, the organist, who said, “You have found it…the right song…God be praised!”

The hymn might have remained an obscure Alpine folk song if it weren’t for the organ repairman. A few days after Christmas, he got a copy of the song and began to sing it in concerts, spreading its popularity even further. Today it is one of the most beloved of all Christmas songs and has been translated in many languages.

# 281 E.L.W. “Silent Night”

1. 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.

2. Silent night, holy night!
    Shepherds quake at the sight;
    glories stream from heaven afar,
    heav’nly hosts sing, alleluia!
    Christ, the Savior, is born!
    Christ, the Savior, is born!

3. Silent night, holy night!
    Son of God, love’s pure light
    radiant beams from your holy face,
    with the dawn of redeeming grace,
    Jesus, Lord, at your birth,
    Jesus, Lord, at your birth.

How has prayer helped you? How does your personal prayer time and communal prayer time in worship inform and feed you? Look for more stories of prayer in next week’s Monday Meditation.