Select Page

The inspirational moments behind the creation of music are often as varied as the music itself. Military victories, movements of God, and even the loss of loved ones, have brought about some of the church’s most beloved music.


But the “inspiration” behind the hymn Silent Night was nothing more than a broken organ.


Christmas Eve had finally come to the Austrian Alps, and at a newly constructed church near Salzburg, Father Joseph Mohr was finalizing plans for the midnight service. He was distraught because the church’s organ was broken; the prospects for the evening’s carefully planned worship service were all but ruined.


But Mohr was about to learn that people’s problems are God’s opportunities.


The idea struck him to write a song that could be sung without the accompaniment of an organ. He hastily scribbled down some words, “Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…” and took them to his organist, Franz Gruber. He explained the dilemma and asked Gruber to quickly compose a simple tune to fit his words.


That night, December 24, 1818, Silent Night was sung for the very first time at the aptly named Church of St. Nicholas.


Shortly thereafter, Karl Mauracher, an organ repairman, came by to mend the church’s broken instrument. He heard about the church’s strategy for coping with the disaster, and asked to see a copy of the tune. He was so impressed with it he shared the song with church’s all throughout the Alpine region of Austria. From there, this tune made its way to the entire world:


Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace


Just imagine, if Father Joseph Mohr had a working organ, we probably wouldn’t have Silent Night.



Resource’s Origin:
Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003, Pages 92-93.



Topics Illustrated Include:
God’s Plan
God’s Provision
Problem Solving



(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)