We all know the song Silent Night refers to the night Jesus was born. What an awesome, glorious night!
I was doing a little research when I made a shocking discovery.
St. Nicholas is connected to this popular Christmas carol.
What? That’s right. I’ll explain.
It was Christmas Eve. The organ was broken, which ruined plans for the prepared hymns for the evening.
Enter Father Joseph of the newly constructed Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf of the Austrian Alps. In a quandary over the situation, Father Joseph sat down and penned words to be sung a cappella.
Silent night…holy night…all is calm…all is bright…
He asked the organist, Franz Gruber, to compose a tune to the words. Thus, the song Silent Night was born.
On December 24, 1818, Silent Night was sung that night as a duet for the first time. Where? At the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf.
Later, the organ repairman was told of the near Christmas Eve disaster. He acquired a copy of the hymn that saved the day (or night) and spread it throughout Austria’s Alpine region. Silent Night was first published in 1838 in a German hymnbook for congregational singing.
It was used in America by German-speaking congregations. In 1863, the current English form was published in a book of Sunday school songs.
Isn’t it interesting that Silent Night was sung for the first time in the Church of St. Nicholas? Is that why Santa is named St. Nick?