Hymns and carols of old have seemingly been fading away into the past and are being replaced by bands and loud praise music in churches around the country.
But there is so much more to these old songs than just music and words. Many of these old favorites were written from the heart and souls of the writers. Many wrote songs from personal experiences that led them to want to share the love of God with others.
But still today at Christmas time, we will hear the music of an old hymn/ carol written on Christmas Eve in 1818. While originally a song of peace, love and joy associated with the birth of Christ, it has been played as background in movies and TV shows that do not have that connotation.
We know this song as “Silent Night,” but it was originally written in German and was called, “Stille Nacht,” and was written by Josef Franz Mohr.
The story behind the song:
“Josef Franz Mohr was born to an unmarried woman, in Salzburg, Austria, in December of 1792. His father deserted her before Josef was born.
An illegitimate child of that century and culture had very little advantage unless God intervened. Josef's mother found him a sponsor who provided him with a chance for higher education.
Josef chose the priesthood as his profession. Ordained in 1815, he was sent to pastor a church in a remote Alpine village. Three years later while preparing for Christmas services at St. Nicholas Church, Josef experienced an event that would prove to not only bless him and his congregation, but the world over.
The church organ was broken, which in Father Josef's mind made it very difficult to plan an effective Christmas celebration for his congregation.
The young priest took his problem before the Lord. God reminded Josef of a poem he had written several years before. Father Josef quickly jotted down the words, took them to his organist who composed a tune. December 24th, 1818, with just a guitar for accompaniment, Stille Nacht was sung for the first time.
Shortly thereafter, the organ repairman heard the story, took a copy of the song and began to spread it throughout Austria. It eventually came to the attention of a local tailor, Herr Strasser, whose children were singers; local celebrities.
Much to the delight of their audiences, the Strasser children added Stille Nacht to their repertoire. The fame of the children and of the song began to spread to the point that the Strasser's were asked to give a performance of Stille Nacht before the king and queen.
In 1838 Stille Nacht was published in a German hymnbook for general congregational singing. Germans who moved to America brought their songs with them to the new world. It wasn't long before Stille Nacht was translated into English, and Silent Night became America's most beloved carol. Source: Share Faith
Silent Night, Holy Night
“Silent night, holy night, 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 Savior is born, Christ the Savior 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.
Silent night, holy night Wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing, Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!”
Follow this link, to hear this hymn/carol sung in German with guitar accompaniment as it was originally sung one-hundred and ninety- five years ago. Beauty and truth remain.
The truth and joy of the birth of the Christ child was for all of human kind and He came to save the whole world from their sins and to grant eternal life to those who seek Him. Jesus told his disciples to go to the utmost parts of the world to share His Gospel.
To hear this in English click here. This beautiful choir rendition is a far cry from that little church of long ago when it was first sung by that little congregation with only a guitar accompaniment
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The evil in today’s world tries to corrupt all that is good and holy; but goodness and holiness will always prevail.
"For unto you for this day, a Savior is born!"