Olivia Taylor-Young wrote a moving tribute to “Silent Night” in yesterday’s Eugene Register-Guard. She movingly described the healing effects singing “Silent Night” has, and the almost mystical sense of unity that comes from singing the carol in multi-lingual situations.
I remember that same almost-mystical sense — singing Silent Night when thousands of mile from home, but feeling the embrace of my family. Or singing it in Germany (in German) at a kindergarten Christmas program. And singing it at home in Portland, Oregon; but feeling right next to my brother who was living in Africa.
The classic story of the origin of the grand carol is that it was born out of crisis: the church organ broke right before the annual Christmas Eve service. Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber only had a couple of hours to collaborate on a song that could be sung to the guitar.
So this is another story of God redeeming our pain, of good things coming from bad, of peace from stress. If God can bring “Silent Night” out of two men without an organ, what can can the Spirit produce through our pain?