Perhaps the most familiar CHRISTmas carol of all time was a collaboration between parish priest Joseph Mohr, who wrote the words, and one of his parishioners, a guitarist named Franz Gruber. It was sung on Christmas Eve of 1818 in the little German village of Oberndorf. I remember singing it as “Stille Nacht, Heilege Nacht” in the Mennonite churches of my childhood: “Silent Night.”

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

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.

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

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