B: SILENT NIGHT – CHRISTMAS

I will tell you the story of the next hymn.  It is one Christmas carol everybody loves.  It is known all over the world, even by people who are not Christians.  But few people know the fact that this best loved Carol would not have been written, if an organ did not break down in a small church.  Fr. Joseph Mohr was twenty-six years old assistant priest of a church in a little town called Obendorf in Austria, one hundred and eighty-one years ago.  It was his first church after he became a priest.  It was his first Christmas as a priest also.  Everybody came to the Christmas service.  He wanted to do a good job.  He asked a school teacher and organist Frantz Gruber to play the organ as best he could to make it a highlight of the service.

But a disaster struck.  The organ broke down on the Christmas Eve.  There was no way to fix it in such a short notice.  People would be disappointed.  They were looking forward to hearing Mr. Gruber”s special music.  What to do?  Think fast, Fr. Mohr.  So he sat down and wrote the words that came to his mind as he imagine the scene of the stable in Bethlehem where the baby Jesus was born.  He imagined the mother Mary looking at the sleeping baby.  He imagined the shepherds who came to greet the baby in a starry silent night.  He had to work fast because there was no time.  He ran to Mr Gruber and asked him to write music for the words he just wrote.  They had no time to do anything else.  But it had to be good.  The song had to be the highlight of the Christmas Service. 

On the Christmas day, they sung the song they just wrote together.  Mr. Gruber sang melody with his guitar and Fr. Mohr was a baritone.  "Stille Nacht! Heilige Natch!  Alles Schläft, einsam wacht.."  It was beautiful.  It was magical.  Soon, the song became famous in all churches all over the world and it was translated into hundreds of languages, because it was so simple that everybody could sing.

Jesus Christ was born in a stable, because there was no place for them in nice hotels.  The parents were humble people.  They could not afford a hotel.  But that was how the first Christmas happened.  The most wonderful thing happens in the simplest way, just like the way Christmas carol we all love was written.  It was written because there was no organ.  The most precious gift of God came in the form of a little baby.  That was the way God chose to show us how much he loved us.

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