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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Mohr’

“With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.”
—Silent Night

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I took the above picture at sunrise today—Christmas morning. This is my ninth Christmas in this house originally built in 1919 in Cedar Falls, Iowa and it will be my last. May even be my last white Christmas for a while. I put a for sale sign in the yard Thanksgiving Day and got an dang acceptable offer less than two weeks later. (Kinda following Robert Redford’s “Return to Zero” lead.) The winds of change are coming and I’ll unpack that in January when I celebrate the fifth anniversary of this blog. But for now, Merry Christmas.

Joseph Mohr wrote the poem Silent Night in the remote Alpine village of Mariafarr where he was a Catholic priest back in 1816, and a couple of years later organist Franz Gruber put the poem to music and sang it at a midnight mass in Oberndof in 1818. It is said to be the most popular Christmas hymn of all time. There is a memorial chapel in Oberndof, Austria, about a half an hour from Salzburg. One of my most rewarding travel experiences was seeing a full solar eclipse in Salzburg in 1999, experiencing Silent Night performed in Oberndof on Christmas Eve would make a nice Austrian bookend experience.

But the song is once again proof that you can write something in a small village and it not only have a global impact—but it can do so for a couple hundred centuries.

Here’s a newly released version of Silent Night performed by Lady Antebellum from the album On This Winter’s Night.

Scott W. Smith

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