It was the night before Christmas 1818, in the little village of Oberndorf, Austria. Joseph Mohr, the vicar, had just read the Christmas passage from Luke chapter 2, when a few verses inspired by the reading came into his mind. It would be pleasant, he thought, if they could be used at the Christmas Eve service, and so he called on the organist and handed him the verses.

 

Franz Gruber, the organist, thereupon composed a tune to which the verses could be sung and that was how one of the greatest Christmas carols - Silent Night - was created.

 

That evening, the organ broke down but, not to be outdone, the vicar and the organist sang the hymn as a duet. There the story might have ended had it not been for the organ. When the instrument had been repaired, the organist sat down to test it and played the tune composed by Gruber. He liked it and asked for a copy, which he took back to his home town. There a ladies' choir added it to their repertoire and it was included when they sang in other towns as well.

Gradually it became known by more and more people and it increased in popularity until today it must surely be the most frequently sung Christmas carol. Moreover, it is sung, not only in the language in which it was first written, but it has been translated into others too, so that, all over the world, people are united at Christmas in singing Silent Night in their own language.

 

Author Unknown

 

Silent Night