Silent Night A Christmas Story
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It was no use. The pipes were rusted, the bellows mildewed. The organ had been wheezing and growing quieter for months, and Father Joseph had been hoping it would hold together until the organ builder arrived to repair it in the spring. But now, on December 23, , the organ had finally given out. Nicholas Church would have no music for Christmas.
Father Joseph sighed. Maybe a brisk walk would make him feel better. He pulled on his overcoat and stepped out into the night. His white breath puffed out before him. Moonlight sparkled off the snow-crusted trees and houses in the village of Oberndorf. Father Joseph crunched through the snowy streets to the edge of the little Austrian town and climbed the path leading up the mountain.
Silent Night, Holy Night
In the spring, when melting snow flowed down the mountains and the river swelled in its banks, water lapped at the foundation of the church. It was moisture from the flooding river that had caused the organ to mildew and rust. Father Joseph looked out over the Austrian Alps.
Stars shone above in the still and silent night. Silent night? Father Joseph stopped. Of course! The next morning, Father Joseph set out on another walk.
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This time he carried his poem. And this time he knew exactly where he was going -- to see his friend Franz Gruber, the organist for St. Nicholas, who lived in the next village. Franz Gruber was surprised to see the priest so far from home on Christmas Eve, and even more surprised when Father Joseph handed him the poem. Father Joseph held his guitar. He could see members of the congregation giving each other puzzled looks. They had never heard a guitar played in church before, and certainly not during midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the holiest night of the year.
Many in the English-speaking world know the words by heart, but we thought it might be intesting to look at the original. Silent night! Holy night! Sleep in heavenly peace! 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! Verse 3 Mohr's 2 : Silent night! Son of God, O how he smiles Love from your divine mouth, Then it hits us - the hour of salvation. Jesus at your birth! The other three verses were largely forgotten. Here are verses three and five from the original version:.
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. 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.
That the fourth verse of Joseph Mohr's reflective Christmas carol makes a special assertion is clear when one ponders the lyrics closely:. 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. Jesus, understood by Protestants as the son of God, is referred to here as a brother to mankind. That verse sounds like a veritable "Christian Internationale" - in reference to the famous song of the socialist movement.
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Perhaps, after , those lyrics became even more glaring due to the political movement in Germany at the time. There are no supreme saviors Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune. Producers, let us save overselves, Decree the common salvation. Who knows, perhaps the inclusion of Joseph Mohr's provocative verse could have helped ease exploited workers' fear of entering church doors.
After all, they, as well as the song's first listeners, were bitterly poor people. For the "Silent Night Society," which is dedicated to research about the song and is responsible for spreading all six of the verses worldwide, it goes a bit further.
The society sees the song as a firm part of European festive culture. The "song for world peace" extends beyond the Christian Church and into other religions. Christmas in Europe?
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The classic Christmas song Stille Nacht, better known around the globe as Silent Night, is one of the world's most celebrated Christmas carols. The song was first sung years ago during a Christmas mass in the small Austrian village of Oberndorf. With the s sitcom "Julia," Diahann Carroll became the first black woman to star in her own TV show.
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