"" Writer's Wanderings: The Favorite Carol - Silent Night

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Favorite Carol - Silent Night

There is a lovely legend that surrounds this carol sung in many churches on Christmas Eve while candles are lit to celebrate the Christ child's birth. The song originates in Austria and was originally written in German by Fr. Joseph Mohr and put to music by Franz Xaver Gruber, a music teacher.

As the story goes, Fr Mohr wanted a children's choir to sing the song he had written in 1816 at a Christmas Eve Mass in 1818, but unfortunately, the organ broke down. Fr Mohr knew how to play a guitar so he asked Gruber to compose music for the guitar. That night it was performed for the very first time by the choir accompanied by the guitar.

The legend continues that an organ repair man actually circulated the song that soon became very popular. There is no record of there ever being a children's choir, or of the organ being broken. There is, however, an original copy of the music and words written down in 1820 by Fr. Mohr and crediting Franz Gruber with the music. It is displayed in the Carolino Augusteum Museum in Salzburg.

May this carol bring you the stillness that will allow the holiness of this wonderful night to fill you with the wonder of the miracle and the gift God gave.


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