It was early Christmas Eve in 1818 when the priests of St. Nicholas Church in Obernadorf, Austria, learned that the broken pipe organ would not be repaired in time to the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. Joseph Mohr, St. Nicholas' associate priest was the first to hear the bad news and deeply saddened by it. Knowing he didn't have much time, he quickly turned his sorrow into action. He quickly sat down and wrote the first three stanzas of a song that could be easily sung "a-capella" or perhaps with a little guitar accompaniment.
And that night at Midnight Mass, "Stille Nacht" or "Silent Night" debuted. Today it is sung by millions of people each year in 180 different languages. Most of you right now are thinking about those famous words and perhaps humming or even singing the song.
Christmas is a couple of weeks away and we are hearing all the songs that this great season gives us. Christmas is about music and singing. School concerts, Vocal Music Groups, Special Christmas programs with old and young singing a variety of songs fill the air. Radio stations playing our favorite songs. Ah yes, it may not be beginning to look a lot like Christmas but it sure is beginning to sound like it.
"Bah, humbug," some may say, but it's not true. When you hear Bing Crosby croon "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," you croon right along with him. In fact, you just might lower your voice and pour out a little Elvis, in "Blue Christmas." Or perhaps Willie Nelson in "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer." And we all love "Jingle Bells; Deck The Halls; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth."
How about "O Holy Night; Angels We Have Heard On High; O Little Town of Bethlehem; O Come All Ye Faithful or Joy To The World?" Great songs of faith dedicated to Christmas. They touch our hearts and often bring a tear to our eye. They remind us of those special Christmas' past; when we were children and the excitement of the presents under the tree; then when we as parents watched the excitement of our kids as they couldn't get to sleep on Christmas Eve and those so very special Christmas' we spent with the whole family at home.
So go ahead--SING, SING SING. Turn the radio up louder, put the CD, watch the movies and sing along with Bing, Elvis, the Choirs and yes, even the radio. Who cares? It's Christmas! Bah Humbug? No way. "Tis the season to be merry, fa la la la la la la la la..." Or better yet, "Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, all is bright; Round yon virgin, Mother and child; Sleep in Heavenly pea-ceeeeeee; Sleep in Heavenly peace."
Hey, I sounded pretty good, don't you think?
Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 319-334-4117. Be blest this week.