Intro to Silent Night
The following is read by the Pastor, as the guitarist softly fingerpicks “Silent Night” in the background. After the history is told, the congregation joins in singing “Silent Night” to the accompaniment of the acoustic guitar.
It happened almost 200 years ago to this very night. It was a cold clear starry night; a good time to be a Christian in the Alps of Austria. In a stone church, known as St. Nicholas’ Catherdral, in the village of Oberndorf, an organist named Franz Gruber, and a Pastor named Josef Mohr collaborated on a song that changed Christmas Eve services for centuries to come.
As the story goes, Gruber was walking to the church during the daytime to practice the music for the Christmas Eve service. To his surprise, the organ was inoperable. Upon further investigation, Gruber discovered that the mice had chewed a hole through the bellows that supplies the pipe organ with the necessary wind pressure to produce sound. He called for the Pastor in a panic. As it turns out, Pastor Mohr had just finished writing a poem based on Luke 2:8.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night”.
Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with the accompaniment of a lone guitar. Later that evening, as the two men, backed by the choir, stood in front of the main altar in St. Nicholas Church and sang “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!” for the first time, they could hardly imagine the impact their composition would have on the world.
What’s the miracle of “Silent Night?” The words flowed from the imagination of a modest curate. The music was composed by a musician who was not known outside his village. There was no celebrity to sing at its world premiere. Yet its powerful message of heavenly peace has crossed all borders and language barriers, conquering the hearts of people everywhere.
We will now sing “Silent Night” accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar tonight.
Note – All scripture text is NIV (Zondervan Publishing)