It is true that sometimes simple things in life can touch others for generations. This often includes finding that special someone to love, joyful clattering of raising a family, sights and smells of Holiday events, or laughing together as memories are made. Even the loss of a loved one can bring tears, followed by smiles, as we recall the life stories and personalities, the differences that loved one made in our lives. Though we may forget some details as the years go by, we don’t often forget the feelings those experiences invoke.
The Story of Silent Night is one that has brought joy and music into the lives of millions of people through the years, yet its simple beginnings could have ended quietly without much impact. The song, “Silent Night” is about a calm and bright night such as we experience when stepping outside on a cold, clear winter evening. It is about the birth of a tender and mild newborn child, words written by a young priest in Austria, Joseph Mohr, in 1816.
The backstory is that Joseph Mohr went for a walk, and looked out over a quiet, winter-laden town, not long after the Napoleonic Wars had taken their toll. It was Christmas Eve, 1816, and he was inspired, the town was at peace. He wrote six versus about a Savior, a baby born to bring light and hope to the world.
Then on Christmas Eve, 1818, when the now-famous carol was first performed as Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht, Joseph Mohr played the guitar and sang along with Franz Xaver Gruber, the choir director who had written the melody.
An organ builder and repairman who had been working at the church took a copy of the six-verse song to his home village, where it was picked up and sang by two families of traveling folk singers, who performed it around northern Europe. The carol eventually found its way to the King of Prussia, and then in 1839, was debuted outside Trinity Church in New York City.
The beautiful carol was translated into over 300 languages. It was sung in churches, town squares, even on the battlefield during World War I, when during a temporary truce on Christmas Eve, soldiers sang carols from home. By 1914, it was known around the world.
The English version of "Silent Night" is typically sung in three verses corresponding with the original 1, 6, and 2.
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 quake at the sight! Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing Alleluia! Christ, the Savior is born, Christ, the Savior is born.
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.
With the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, it is easy to rush through the weeks without stopping to think about the meaning of Christmas; A tiny baby in a manger came and changed the course of history, bringing light and hope to the world.
Sometimes it is the simplest things that touch someone’s life – a handmade ornament, a short note or card, a small plate of Christmas goodies, a smile, a word of encouragement or appreciation. One humble priest, Joseph Mohr, in a few moments of creativity and reflection, wrote words that traveled around the world.
At Great Life Senior Care, LLC, we know it is people who change the world; people who care, take the time to touch someone’s life, enhance the beauty of everyday moments, and speak words of hope and joy. Sometimes little things turn into big things that touch generations! We are passionate about encouraging seniors, making their lives fulfilling and rich with kindness and care. If you know someone who could benefit from a helping hand, now would be a great time to call Jason for a free assessment at (951) 679-9592.
This Christmas season, may we all share a story of kindness, hope, and joy!
Contributor, Great Life Senior Care