Fact of the Week: "Silent Night" originally written as poem
The song, "Silent Night" was originally written as a poem and translated from German into English in 1863. 'Tis the season to reflect on the dark, quite night that Christ was born. | Ashley Jones/THE CHIMES
‘Tis the season to sing. Many end their Christmas services with “Silent Night.” Howard Culbertson, a faculty member at Southern Nazarene University, wrote an article about his journey to find the history behind this carol. He and his wife served as missionaries in Europe and stumbled upon the church in Austria where this song was originally penned in 1818, though it was only meant to be a poem.
Joseph Mohr, an assistant pastor at the time, through a time of meditating on the night Jesus came into the world, wrote the words we now sing. The night before Christmas Eve as Mohr looked out over his small, snowy Austrian town, he had the idea to sing his poem at the next evening’s service. He brought the idea to the organist at the church, Franz Xaver Gruber, who in moments wrote the melody.
Originally written in German, “Silent Night” was not translated into English until 1863. Thankfully, we now can praise God as we think of that dark, quiet night when Jesus entered into the world, which would never be the same again.