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(Christmas) Remembering the Silent Night: A Recount of The Hymn

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A Devotional Recount of the hymn, Silent Night.

This evening, I wanted to take a few minutes to recount the history behind one of our favorite hymns, Silent Night.
While I think most often, our most devotional ideas come from careful, faithful thinking.
Good theologians don’t happen by accident.
But Silent night is an example - that sometimes unforeseen challenges can be the seed bed for wonderful things.
Afterall - Silent Night would not be here if it wasn’t for an organ braking at last minute.
Silent Night is a hymn written about the Birth of Christ, on Christmas Eve of 1818.
It was Christmas Eve in the Austrian Alps.
- At the newly constructed Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, a Tyrol village near Salzburg, Father Joseph Mohr prepared for the midnight service.
Every pastors worst case scenario -
- The church organ broke just before the service, ruining prospects for that evening’s carefully planned music.
It came into Father Joseph’s mind to write a new song, one that could be sung organless. Hastily, he wrote the words, ‘‘Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright . . . .’’
- Taking the text to his organist, Franz Gruber, he explained the situation and asked Franz to compose a simple tune.
- That night, December 24, 1818, ‘‘Silent Night’’ was sung for the first time as a duet accompanied by a guitar at the aptly named Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf.
Shortly afterward, as Karl Mauracher came to repair the organ, he heard about the near-disaster on Christmas Eve. Acquiring a copy of the text and tune, he spread it throughout the Alpine region of Austria, referring to it as ‘‘Tiroler Volkslied.’’
‘‘Silent Night’’ was first published for congregational singing in 1838 in the German hymnbook,
It was used in America by German-speaking congregations, then appeared in its current English form in a book of Sunday school songs in 1863.
Were it not for a broken organ, there would never have been a ‘‘Silent Night.’’
Robert J. Morgan, Then Sings My Soul Special Edition: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymns Stories (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010).
Silent is a picture of the modest, birth of Christ.
Yet - also recalling the glory of the Angels.
The shepherds.
The Christmas Star
And the meaning of the Birth - Christ as a Savior.
Majesty, 219.
Robert Morgan, the Author of the books, Then Sings My Soul, attaches Isaiah 7:14 to this passage.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
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