This Holiday Favorite Was First Heard in 1818


Silent Night was first heard in 1818

On Christmas Eve in 1818, “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht” was heard for the first time in Oberndorf, Austria. According to popular legend, Father Joseph Mohr had written the words to the song two years earlier. However, on Christmas Eve, 1818, Mohr went to the apartment of the choir director of St. Nicholas Church and asked him if he could write a melody so that the song could be sung that night at Midnight Mass with a guitar accompaniment.

Franz Gruber penned the melody, and that night the two men sang the Christmas hymn, with Mohr playing the guitar. Little did they realize that “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht” would become one of the most beloved Christmas hymns of all time.

In English, the words are:

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.
Silent night, holy night,
Wondrous star, lend thy light.
With the angels, let us sing,
Alleluia to our King.
Christ the Savior is born;
Christ the Savior is born.

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