The story of “Silent Night” is a real tear jerker.
Only the organist wasn’t playing Rev. Joseph Mohr’s song, or any other song.
Parishioners were gettin’ antsy wondering was going on; in 1818 music was a big deal. They didn’t know that the organ was broken.
Finally, Franz Gruber snatched his guitar and started strummin’ Silent Night … and that church was the sweetest place on earth.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing has been around forever; well, actually since 1739. It was written by Charles Wesley, a Methodist, only there was no melody until 1855. A Jew who became a Lutheran actually wrote the music; his name was Felix Mendelssohn.
How sad that he died at 39, who knows how many more carols he would have brought to the world.
People who knew him said Felix was sad and grief-stricken; they believe that he died of a broken heart after losing his father and sister in the same year.
The poet had lost his wife … and his son was injured in the Civil War. The man was so down and heartbroken the only therapy he knew was writing.
Now this is a surprise. For years it’s been told that Martin Luther wrote Away in a Manger. Luther was a Catholic priest who didn’t like some of the doctrine of the church, so he left and formed the Lutheran Church.
Yet, when I checked this is what I found:
Hymn Story: The first two verses of “Away In A Manger” are anonymous. They have been attributed to Martin Luther, but this is not clear. An extensive article, Not So Far Away In A Manger: Forty One Settings of an American Carol, gives reasons that this might not be the case. These verses first appeared in Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families, by J. C. File (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, 1885). http://songsandhymns.org/hymns/detail/away-in-a-manger
Maybe it’s not who wrote about the manger that matters … but the “One” lying inside.
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full
Find out more about Maxi at: