Silent Night

by beaded09

Nearly 200 years ago, Father Joseph Mohr, a priest at a small church in Mariapfarr, Austria, penned the lyrics to the carol, Silent Night. There is much controversy regarding the context during which Mohr penned these lyrics, but we do know that he wrote the words on the heels of the Napoleonic Wars, which had been the source of great suffering in all of Europe. Mohr had born witness to the brutality and pain of war and he had seen the calm restored. Perhaps it was those things that inspired him to write the words, “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.”

Franz Xaver Gruber set the lyrics to music at Mohr’s request and the song was performed for the first time at a small church in Oberndorf, Austria in 1818. Within just a few years, his song had spread across Austria, into Germany and the rest of Europe and eventually into America.

Mohr couldn’t have known that his lyrics would become some of the most well-known lyrics sung during Christmas for centuries to come or that they would be translated into 300 languages around the world. He couldn’t have known that his words would be credited with fostering a spirit of peace between German and British soldiers during WWI. Or that children some 200 years later in a little church in Charlotte, NC would offer up his lyrics in praise to the Wonderful Counselor. He did, however, know of the Prince of Peace – the one who could and can calm any storm. He knew the baby whose birth we celebrate still 2000 years after the fact, was indeed the Messiah and was worthy to be praised. He knew that the baby was God Incarnate and that the Christ child had come to save that which was lost. He knew where true peace came from.

You’ll find the translation of the original lyrics below.

1. Silent night! Holy night!
All are sleeping, alone and awake
Only the intimate holy pair,
Lovely boy with curly hair,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!
2. Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, O how he laughs
Love from your divine mouth,
Then it hits us – the hour of salvation.
Jesus at your birth!
Jesus at your birth!
3. Silent night! Holy night!
Which brought salvation to the world,
From Heaven’s golden heights,
Mercy’s abundance was made visible to us:
Jesus in human form,
Jesus in human form.
4. Silent night! Holy night!
Where on this day all power
of fatherly love poured forth
And like a brother lovingly embraced
Jesus the peoples of the world,
Jesus the peoples of the world.
5. Silent night! Holy night!
Already long ago planned for us,
When the Lord frees from wrath
Since the beginning of ancient times
A salvation promised for the whole world.
A salvation promised for the whole world.
6. Silent night! Holy night!
To shepherds it was first made known
By the angel, Alleluia;
Sounding forth loudly far and near:
Jesus the Savior is here!
Jesus the Savior is here!