Silent Night – The Story

Silent Night – The Story


Silent Night – The Story of the Christmas Carol (1953)


Around the world, Christmas Eve is a well celebrated special occasion and the ever popular Silent Night is a common song to be sung and heard.

It was in Oberndorf, Salzburg Austria, where the beloved Christmas carol Silent Night was written not far from the church of St. Nicolas. Inside this chapel of St. Nicolas, the story of Silent Night is engraved in two windows of stained glass.

One window is with Father Mohr, the village priest who wrote the poem and the second window is of Franz Gruber a teacher and choir master who composed the melody to accompany the beautiful words written by his friend.

In 1818, it was Christmas customs where groups of young girls carried pictures of Mary and Joseph from house to house and they were accompanied by young boys who were carolling who were collecting gifts of food for the poor.

Christmas Eve 1818, Franz Gruber discovered the organ was broken and he would not be able to play and Father Mohr would not have music for his Christmas Eve service.

Father Mohr was away visiting a family in the mountains and it was evening when he arrived at the house. He saw a mother and her child that reminded him of the baby Jesus. As he headed back to the village, he was inspired by the calm winter night. When he returned to St. Nicolas, he wrote the words he felt and shared it with Franz Gruber.

He liked it so much that Silent Night was performed for the first time at the Christmas Eve service in the village of St. Nicolas at the church with Franz Gruber on his guitar.

The following spring, a craftsman came to fix the organ at the church and Franz Gruber sat down to see if it worked by playing Silent Night. The craftsman was inspired by the words and music he had heard and told the children in his own village to go and listen to it.

For many years, this song belonged to Austria but over time, the song was carried throughout Austria and then eventually to Paris, London, and America.

To this day, Silent Night now belongs to everyone, and we are very grateful every Christmas season.

~ Written by Jennifer Juneau


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