Silent Night

Published December 23, 2023 by SMBC

First performed on Christmas Eve in 1818 in a small town in Austria, Silent Night (Stille Nacht) is a staple of the Advent season. Peaceful, serene, and awe-inducing, this carol provides a glimpse into a quiet night when God’s gift to humanity was realized. A woman gave birth to her firstborn, and Christ became flesh to dwell among us. 

Today, Bethlehem, Christ’s birthplace, is anything but still. Located in the Palestinian West Bank, Shepherds’ Field and the stable where a baby was swaddled have been witness to endless conflict in an area where truces are tentative and war could, and sometimes does, break out instantaneously with intense violence. Peace seems distant and untenable despite our fervent prayers. Each Christmas Eve, South Main’s service ends as light is shared from person to person and spreads throughout the Sanctuary. The choir processes outside as the congregation joins in singing Thomas Coker’s arrangement of Silent Night. This year, as we take our light to the front steps and beyond, let us pray for peace—in our hearts, in Christ’s birthplace, and throughout the world.

— Angela Bell

sheet music of silent night, holy night