Like Jesus, the author of Silent Night had a very humble beginning. The author of this carol, Josef Mohr, was the illegitimate son of an Austrian embroideress and a mercenary soldier who deserted her before the birth. Josef even lucked out in the Godparent department because his godfather was the local executioner.
But he grew up to be a pretty good egg.
After special papal permission, he was allowed to train for the Catholic priesthood. He was sent to Oberndorf, a remote Alpine parish. Because it was way out in the middle of nowhere, it wasn't the richest of churches. Even the stupid organ didn't work. And Christmas was coming. Plus the zombie apocalypse.
Okay, so I made up that last part, but the point is that the dude had serious problems with Christmas coming and no organ to sing along with. He had plenty of experience, though, with problems. So, he penned the words to Silent Night with a tune that could be sung without accompaniment. December 25th was not silent in Oberndorf that year . . . or any others.
The tune we sing today, however, was composed by Franz Gruber.
I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me
two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the
latter. Way cheaper. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall space and
Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write...except for that graffiti
phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?