Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Silent Night - Stille Nacht Lyrics and Story (Composer Joseph Mohr in 1818)

The Christmas hymns are almost without number, and our readers may add indefinitely. We must, however, tell the story of one other hymn of which many have precious memories of singing it in a darkened church or home while watching the lighting of the Christmas tree, which found its present beautiful place and use during the time of the great Protestant Reformation. The hymn, which was written by Joseph Mohr in 1818, is the well known —

SILENT NIGHT


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

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from Heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
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.

The story of the origin of this hymn, silent night, is beautiful. It was a clear, starry Christmas Eve. Everything was joyful and festive save in the home of Joseph Mohr, where there was great sorrow, for on that day the wife and mother had passed away. All was sadness. Mr. Mohr sat with bowed head. 

Going to a window he looked out upon the snow-clad nature, while in an adjoining room he could see his little motherless children quietly sleeping. A sigh came to his lips as he thought of the Christmas without the mother. Just then he heard merry voices singing the very songs he and his wife and the children were wont to sing. The thought rushed in upon him that she was singing them and blending her voice with the angels. Musing thus, he was impressed with the quiet beauty of the night. He turned quickly, sat down and in a few moments penned his now famous "Stille Nacht." 

As soon as it was written he handed it to his organist who was keeping vigil with him, a Mr.Gruber, and with a choking voice said, "Go, friend, make music to this and bring it to me." He went into the church and sat at the organ. In the morning he called together his choir and rehearsed the melody, which floated out from the church choir loft on that Christmas day for the first time.

Made in the night, it seemed to the congregation, as it should seem to us, as if the angels themselves had infused their own spirit into writer, composer and singers. This beautiful song is simg wherever Christmas is kept in the good old way. It is seldom that it does not bring to the hearts of those who listen a measure of the same feeling which Gruber's choir awoke in the good people of old Salzburg that Christmas morning so long ago.



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