This article was written by state missionary Rob Jackson.
Christmas carols reverberate in our homes, churches, and lives during the Holiday Season. The rich spiritual truths of these songs can transform our minds, encourage our souls, and prepare our hearts for this joyous season. We will examine some classic Christmas Carols in the next few weeks. Today, we look at a Christmas favorite, Silent Night:
1. “Silent Night,” originally titled “Stille Nacht” in German, was written by Joseph Mohr and composed by Franz Xaver Gruber.
2. In 1818, just days before Christmas, the local church organ in Oberndorf Salzburg, Austria, was found to be inoperable. The church was left without the music typically associated with the Christmas Eve service as Christmas approached.
3. To ensure there would still be music for the Christmas Eve service, the St. Nicholas Church assistant pastor, Joseph Mohr, decided to write a new melody. Mohr penned the lyrics to “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night) as a poem. Realizing the situation’s urgency, he approached the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber, requesting that he compose a simple song on a guitar.
4. Gruber composed the music in a remarkably short amount of time, and on Christmas Eve in 1818, “Silent Night” was performed for the first time in St. Nicholas Church.
5. The Christmas Truce of 1914: on Christmas Eve, there was an unofficial pause in fighting on the battlefields of World War 1. German officer Walter Kirchhoff came forward and sang “Silent Night” in German and then in English. The shooting ceased, and the British began to sing the song back. Gradually, the troops crawled into No Man’s Land, and the “enemies” celebrated Christmas together.
6. Over the years, the carol’s reputation spread, and it was eventually translated into multiple languages, becoming one of the most beloved and widely performed Christmas carols worldwide.
There is much power in our Christmas Carols. Now is the time to capitalize on the influence of these songs as we teach the true meaning of Christmas and draw people to the Prince of Peace.