History Of Christmas Hymns SILENT NIGHT | Blogmas Day 3

History Of Christmas Hymns SILENT NIGHT | Blogmas Day 3

Welcome to Blogmas Day 3! Since it’s Sunday, I figured it be ok to take it to church around here. Hope you don’t mind.

I was raised uber conservative. (Think Duggar Style rules, minus the meat eating.) So most of the year, all I sang and listened to were hymns. To this day hymns are some of my favorite music to hear and to sing. Granted I sing them a bit differently than I did as a kid. So when the holidays roll around, I still prefer reverting back to old faithfuls such as Oh Come All Ye Faithful, and Joy to The World. Being that I am a homeschool mama, I also like to use this time to study and learn about where these hymns come from. (Among other holiday themed lessons). So today, I wanted to share with you my ALL TIME FAVORITE holiday Hymn and its origins.

According to legend (since we have no real written record of how this song came about)

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.
Unfortunately, the St. Nicholas’ church organ wasn’t working and would not be repaired before Christmas. (Note: some versions of the story point to mice as the problem; others say rust was the culprit) Because the church organ was out of commission, the actors presented their Christmas drama in a private home. That Christmas presentation of the events in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke put assistant pastor Josef Mohr in a meditative mood. Instead of walking straight to his house that night, Mohr took a longer way home. The longer path took him up over a hill overlooking the village.
From that hilltop, Mohr looked down on the peaceful snow-covered village. Reveling in majestic silence of the wintry night, Mohr gazed down at the glowing Christmas-card like scene. His thoughts about the Christmas play he had just seen made him remember a poem he had written a couple of years before. That poem was about the night when angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to shepherds on a hillside.
Mohr decided those words might make a good carol for his congregation the following evening at their Christmas eve service. The one problem was that he didn’t have any music to which that poem could be sung. So, the next day Mohr went to see the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber. Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with a guitar. However, by that evening, Gruber had managed to compose a musical setting for the poem. It no longer mattered to Mohr and Gruber that their church organ was inoperable. They now had a Christmas carol that could be sung without that organ.
On Christmas Eve, the little Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing their new composition to the accompaniment of Gruber’s guitar.
Weeks later, well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived in Oberndorf to fix the organ in St. Nicholas church. When Mauracher finished, he stepped back to let Gruber test the instrument. When Gruber sat down, his fingers began playing the simple melody he had written for Mohr’s Christmas poem. Deeply impressed, Mauracher took copies of the music and words of “Silent Night” back to his own Alpine village, Kapfing. There, two well-known families of singers — the Rainers and the Strassers — heard it. Captivated by “Silent Night,” both groups put the new song into their Christmas season repertoire.

The Strasser sisters spread the carol across northern Europe. In 1834, they performed “Silent Night” for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, and he then ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas eve.
Twenty years after “Silent Night” was written, the Rainers brought the song to the United States, singing it (in German) at the Alexander Hamilton Monument located outside New York City’s Trinity Church.
In 1863, nearly fifty years after being first sung in German, “Silent Night” was translated into English (by either Jane Campbell or John Young). Eight years later, that English version made its way into print in Charles Hutchins’ Sunday School Hymnal. Today the words of “Silent Night” are sung in more than 300 different languages around the world.

Now there are questions as to if that “broken piano” bit is true, but the fact remains that Silent night is one the best known and loved Christmas Carols of this time.

Because of my conservative upbringing and my rigidness in the music I was allowed to listen to, I tend to analyze the words to songs quite a bit. Even Hymns. The words to this one are very Beautiful. Just think of the night Jesus was born!

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 pray at the sight
Glory streams from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born
Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
And 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
Sleep in heavenly peace
I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph must have felt in that moment. Knowing they were holing not only their new child but the Savoir of the whole world! Gives me chills just thinking about it. How humbling that experience must have been.
* Ok wait, Let me be real for second, as a mom I wonder, was Jesus a “good” baby? Did He cry a lot? Did He sleep through the night right away? I mean how does God behave as an infant? Sorry, back to the post at hand*
There are many versions of this song out there including the traditional version heard here:

While this one is BORING! I mean traditional, this ain’t for me! My praise sounds has a bit more to it. Tomorrow I will share the best rendition of this song there is! I said what I said. (In my NeNe Voice) Along with some more songs on my Holiday Playlist!

Next Sunday I will share the backstory of Oh Come All Ye Faithful.

Til then tell me your favorite Christmas Hymn/Carol,



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