The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Silent Night! Holy Night!

For Christmas Eve

Words: Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!, Rev. Joseph Mohr, 1816

Verse One: Unknown
Verse Two: Jane Montgomery Campbell, alt. (Holy Night, Peaceful Night)
Verse Three: John Freeman Young (Silent Night, Holy Night)

Original Music "Stille Nacht," by Franz Gruber, 1818
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Original Music: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Source: Moravian Church, Offices of Worship and Hymns (Bethlehem, PA: Moravian Publications Office, 1902), #1516, p. 414.

1. Silent night! Holy night!
Slumber reigns! Naught in sight!
Save that pair who lone vigil keep
O'er the Child Who, in softest sleep,
Rests in heavenly peace,
Rests in heavenly peace.

2. Silent night! Holy night!
Darkness flies! All is light!
Shepherds listen while angels sing
Praise to God and good tidings bring,
“Jesus, the Saviour, is here!”
“Jesus, the Saviour, is here!”

3. 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.

Sheet Music: "Silent Night" by Franz Gruber, 1818, from Moravian Church, Offices of Worship and Hymns (Bethlehem, PA: Moravian Publications Office, 1902), #1516, p. 414.


The first verse is from a version by W. T. Matson, No. 132, in Dr. Henry Allon's Children's Worship (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1878).

This verse was quoted in an article published in the New York Times Magazine Supplement, p. SM15, Sunday, December 14, 1902, under the title "A Primitive Christmas Survival."

RIGHT in the path of progress, within sound of modern mechanical triumphs which are replacing the labor of men's hands, under the very shadow of a university which is liberal if not iconoclastic in its teachings, lives a small sect of men and women who will yield not a jot of their Christmas traditions to the onward march of new thought and twentieth century customs.

Their next-door neighbors may turn the solemn feast day into a season of revelry and dancing. Within a dozen blocks of their homes the theatre may offer brilliant holiday attractions. But for them the day remains what for centuries it has been to their ancestors — what it will remain so long as their people intermarry and hand down the sacred traditions — a holy day of purest, simplest, and most reverential joy.

Their Christmas carols they teach to their sons, their holiday recipes they impress upon the memories of their daughters, and the customs of the festal season are instilled into the minds of the rising generation as conscientiously as the Mosaic law is laid down in the family of the orthodox Jew.

So it happens that each year in Bethlehem, Penn., the stronghold of Moravian faith in this country, the birth of the Christ child will be celebrated each year with undiminished fervor. The observances of that ancient Church have been preserved intact. The liturgical services are rendered in both German and English, and the trombones from the belfry tower still send forth the glad ridings in the harmonies of the beautiful old German chorale.

To these Moravians the whole of the advent season is of holy import, and to the children its celebration is committed....

The full article is a fascinating account of a denomination for whom Advent and Christmas are a religious festival, a holy season, and a holy day. The holiday aspects of the culture is also explored. URLS:

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