• Dawn

Silent Night - The Most Holy of Nights

Few holidays emote as much emotion as the Christmas season. Everyone has their favorite movie, their favorite song, their favorite hymn, their favorite decorations for the season. Whether traditions were small or large in size, the Christmas season was one that most people looked forward to (and still look forward to).

Growing up in Connecticut, where the odds of having a white Christmas were generally pretty high, the month of December was welcomed with much anticipation. Going out to cut our tree in a nearby forest. Decorating the tree which would be laden with tons of silver tinsel over the tips of all the branches. Presents placed carefully under the tree. Stockings hung on the fireplace grill or placed in front on the hearth. Our little manger scene set up on a desk or table in the far end of the living room, no baby Jesus in sight until Christmas morning.

Among other traditions, our family loved to sing Christmas carols. Mom had an array of small Christmas music books which we could hold while we gathered around the piano or the tree – ours or someone else’s. Sometimes we might go caroling around a neighborhood. Songs brought us together whether it was the spiriting sound of Up on the Housetop and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or the enchantment of O Holy Night and Silent Night, these memories are etched in our hearts and souls.

As the family grew up and moved away to have their own families, the nostalgic pull of the holiday season would creep in. Though we may not have always been together, we longed for that simpler time, especially as the world of technology grew wider and deeper.

For me, I have my favorite Christmas songs. One, in particular, has the ability to make tears fall down my cheeks. Often, Silent Night is the last song of the Christmas Eve Tenebrae service at church. Each person holding a candle, circling the church, the organ music playing wistfully from above, it was a joint coming together of heart, soul, mind and voice. The tenderness and intimacy of that moment so strong. The yearning to be one with Christ in that moment so powerful.

This year there will be no congregations getting together on Christmas Eve. Shelter at home orders are in place because of the pandemic ravaging the world. I do not stop listening to my Christmas music playlist, but rather sing along with the various musicians and their melodies. Music gives me such joy.

This year, for some reason, I recall my mother singing Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht in German, having taken German as her high school language. She had a lovely voice. She could sing in German while the rest of us sang in English. The beautiful thing about Silent Night is that no matter what language it is sung in, it is beautiful. For one night, one silent night, we are all united by the coming of Christ on each blessed Christmas Day.

This year of 2020 will also bring a phenomenon not seen nearly 800 years. Just days before Christmas, the Christmas Star will be seen in the skies around the world. While the world is in such disarray, we will get a reminder that Christ is always with us, offering us hope no matter what our circumstances are.

May God Bless you during this time of CHRISTmas. May you have peace and love in your heart this day – and every day.

May the power of our God shine down on the world and bring us out of this health crisis so families and congregations can safely assemble for our next holiday season.




Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Alles schläft; einsam wacht Nur das traute hochheilige Paar. Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar, Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh! Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh! Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Hirten erst kundgemacht Durch der Engel Halleluja, Tönt es laut von fern und nah: Christ, der Retter ist da! Christ, der Retter ist da! Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund, Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'. Christ, in deiner Geburt! Christ, in deiner Geburt!



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 Saviour is born! Christ the Saviour 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!


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