Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!

If you're in Decatur on Christmas Eve at 6:30 pm, I hope you'll join us for DPC's Candlelight Christmas Eve service. After six Christmas readings (read by various members of the church family) & six Christmas songs, I'll briefly tell one of the greatest stories in all of world history illustrating how God's drawing near to us in Jesus brings peace out of conflict.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased," as the angels heralded to the shepherds. Peace, indeed.

The service will climax in the lighting of the candles & the singing of Silent Night, Holy Night. But we'll sing the first stanza in the original German. Why? Well... come hear the story.

This isn't the story I'm going to tell, but it's pretty amazing too. Enjoy this brief summary of how Silent Night came to be written:

The Christmas Eve of 1818 was at hand. Pastor Joseph Mohr of St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria decided that he needed a carol for the Christmas Eve service. He surmised the little poem he had written two years earlier while serving another church might work. Perhaps this poem could be set to music?

Pastor Mohr hurried off to see his friend, Franz Xaver Gruber, who was a schoolteacher and also served as the church's organist and choir master. In a few short hours Franz came up with the hauntingly beautiful melody that is so loved and revered to this day. At the request of Joseph, who had a special love for guitar, Franz composed the music for guitar accompaniment. Just a few short hours later, Franz stood with his friend the pastor, Joseph, in front of the altar in St. Nicholas church and introduced "Stille Nacht" to the congregation!

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 Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light
radiant beams from the 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!

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