Advent Calendar | Dec. 23

2 Days Until Christmas



“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)



The only surviving autograph of the song by Joseph Mohr (Carolino Augusteum, Salzburg)

The only surviving autograph of the song by Joseph Mohr (Carolino Augusteum, Salzburg)

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 Saviour is born.
Christ, the Saviour 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.



1. The German words for the original six stanzas of the carol we know as “Silent Night” were written by Joseph Mohr in 1816, when he was a young priest assigned to a church in Mariapfarr, Austria. He was transferred to Oberndorf the following year.

2. On Dec. 24, 1818, Mohr journeyed to the home of musician-schoolteacher Franz Gruber, who lived in nearby Arnsdorf. He showed his friend the poem and asked him to add a melody and guitar accompaniment so that it could be sung at Midnight Mass.

3. “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht” was heard for the first time in Obendorf’s St. Nicholas Church. Mohr and Gruber sang the song accompanied by Mohr’s guitar. The choir repeated the last two lines of each verse in four-part harmony.

4. Karl Mauracher, a master organ builder and repairman from the Ziller Valley, traveled to Oberndorf to work on the organ several times in subsequent years. While doing his work in St. Nicholas, he obtained a copy of the composition and took it home with him.

5. Two traveling singing families, the Strassers and the Rainers, spread the song throughout Austria and Germany. The Rainers performed the song in New York City in 1839.

6. By the time the song had become famous throughout Europe, Joseph Mohr had died and the composer was unknown. Although Franz Gruber wrote to music authorities in Berlin stating that he was the composer, the melody had been assumed to be the work of Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven at various times. The controversy was put to rest when a long-lost arrangement of “Stille Nacht” in the hand of Joseph Mohr was authenticated. In the upper right hand corner of the arrangement, Mohr wrote, “Melodie von Fr. Xav. Gruber.”




God, thank you for the gift of this child, your child, your saving grace. Amen.

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