Receiving the Light • Devotion #6: “Silent Night”

Are you familiar with the Christmas truce of 1914? Although World War I did not end until 1918, Michael Ray writes for the Britannica that there was a pause of the war right before Christmas in 1914. German soldiers started singing “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”) and the British soldiers responded with some Christmas carols too as they took a “timeout” from the battle.

I am pretty sure that Josef Mohr (poetry) and Franz Gruber (music) had no idea the power their song would have. Howard Culbertson writes for Southern Nazarene University that “Silent Night” was written because of a broken church organ. He writes, “In 1818, a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps. On December 23 they arrived at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg where they were to re-enact the story of Christ’s birth in the small Church of St. Nicholas.” Since the organ was broken (due to mice or rust), the Christmas drama was performed in a home. Assistant Pastor took a longer route to the house where he could overlook the village. Everything was silent. He wrote this poem – carol. The song was translated to English in 1863 by John Freeman Young.

Envision that night. Mary’s labor pains are over. The animals have settled down for the night. Joseph is beaming as he looks upon his glowing wife and “perfect” son. Everything is peaceful, calm, and silent. The only sound might be angels softly singing.

Silent night, Holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and child

Holy infant, tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night

Son of God, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Silent night, Holy night

Shepherds quake, at the sight

Glories stream from heaven above

Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.

Christ the Savior is born,

Christ the Savior is born.

This Christmas please take time to “be still and know that He is God.” The noises are as extreme as battle cries in a war to a church organ. Turn off everything and sit in silence as you cherish time with the Savior of the World.

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