A Global Silent Night

Silent Night was written in 1816 in German by a young Austrian Catholic priest named Joseph Mohr. His friend Franz Xaver Gruber composed the music. It was first sung at his Christmas Eve Mass in 1818 with a guitar. The song was so impactful that attenders began singing it at home. One of those attenders knew the Rainer Family Singers. The song was added to their catalog and was performed all over Europe, for the Emperor of Russia, and in New York City in 1839.  This trip led to the English version we know. An Episcopal priest named John Freeman Young translated three of Mohr's six verses into the English version we sing.
"The Rainers were an international sensation, singing for the nobility of several countries and making a hefty fortune for musicians of their kind. Their pure, natural sound was especially appreciated in London, where they were invited to perform among the Royal Society of Musicians and likewise treated as professionals." The Vaudeville Museum
The song continued to have global staying power and during World War I it had a remarkable strength. In 1914 on Flanders Field, German, French, and English troops were dug into their fox holes and the battle had been raging on. But then it was Christmas Day. The Germans decided to erect a Christmas tree and started to sing Silent Night. The song was heard across the gap and the generals agreed to call a cease fire. Troops came out and met in no-man's land. They sang together, exchanged souvenirs, drank coffee, played soccer, and buried their dead comrades. It was a day of peace and sabbath. The song that crossed cultural lines and sang of Jesus' birth had led to peace for 24 hours in a horrific war that latest for 4 more years and killed more than 10 million people.  
"We laughed and joked together, having forgotten war altogether."
British Cpl. Eric Rowden  
Silent Night is a beautiful song and we hope that you take some time to listen and explore it in other cultures and languages from our Spotify list. But more than that it is a reminder of Christ's love that crosses cultural lines. It acknowledges Christ's redeeming grace for all people on this earth and for all time. That is why this year's Advent theme is "Jesus the Global Savior" based on John 3:17, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. This song is able to unite priests of different denominations.  This song is able to unite people of different ethnicities not because of a strength on its own but because of its true praise for the Lord of all. Because it declares honor to the Savior of all.
Our Global Savior.  
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!

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Saviour is born!
Christ the Saviour 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!  
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