In Your Silent Night

Christmas Eve. Silent Night.

The words to the age-old Christmas carol come so easily to mind.

Silent night, holy night. All is calm. All is bright.

It IS a silent night here in Mama’s Empty Nest. Only Papa and I are here.

No grandchildren under the age of 5 run to and fro, happily shouting and playing and not wanting to settle down to sleep because of the excitement of Santa Claus’ arrival.

None of our offspring here playing games, raiding the fridge and snacks in the pantry.

Oldest daughter and son-in-love are in their home down south heeding travel restrictions.

Nurse middle daughter works her shift at her busy hospital. Oldest grandchild is spending the holiday with her father’s family.

Son and daughter-in-love with our two other grandchildren are nestled down in their own home many miles from us in the state next door.

All is calm in Mama’s Empty Nest. All is bright as Christmas lights shine brilliantly outside our country home and our Christmas tree dazzles in the darkened living room.

It’s just another silent night. Or is it? Not for us. It’s a night to remember and reflect on another silent night over 2000 years ago. A night when a Savior was born into this world.

If your night seems too silent this Christmas Eve, watch and listen to this video. May you find joy somewhere in your silent night.

“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent., For this is still the time God chooses.” ~ Taylor Caldwell

©mamasemptynest.wordpress.com 2020

On a silent night

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Silent Night Memorial Chapel, Frankenmuth, MI

As one season ends, another begins. It’s that way in nature and it’s that way in life as well. Autumn is past and I must say farewell to it as we enter into winter.  I must also say farewell to my recent postings about our trip to Michigan.

As I wind up this series while preparing for and anticipating Christmas, I find it serendipitous that my last post highlights a well-known Christmas song, Silent Night.

You probably know the one: Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…

That beloved hymn, originally written in German and titled “Stille Nacht,” was composed by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr in Austria in 1818. Mohr, a pastor in Oberndorf bei Salzburg had written a poem and was hopeful that his friend Gruber, the church choir master and organist, could set the words to music for Christmas Eve’s midnight mass. 

It is absolutely amazing that this beautiful song was composed in just a few hours and first sung on that same Christmas Eve. However, because of a flood, the church’s organ had been damaged and could not be used.

So instead, Gruber composed the music to be accompanied by guitar. The church, which had its foundation damaged in the flood, was later demolished and when a new church was built, a small memorial chapel was also constructed, the Silent Night Chapel.

Many decades later in 1945, a man named Wally Bronner opened a CHRISTmas Wonderland store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. As his store succeeded and grew, Bronner began importing Christmas ornaments and on a trip to Europe, he visited the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria.

An idea became reality for the Christmas store owner. He had reserved space on his many acres site where his store is located for something to thank God for blessing his business. Bronner acquired permission from authorities to build a replica of Austria’s Silent Night Chapel.

Built and dedicated in 1992, Bronner’s memorial chapel stands 56-feet tall and is open for visitors every day during store hours; there is no admission charge to enter the chapel. Inside you may view a lovely altar behind glass and the words to Silent Night are portrayed all around the chapel walls in many different languages.

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Altar inside the replica chapel

Click here to see a video of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland’s Silent Night Memorial Chapel.

It’s a tranquil spot to sit and meditate on the lyrics as the song, both vocal and instrumental versions, plays quietly in the background. Another interesting fact is that every Christmas Eve, carolers gather inside the chapel to sing Silent Night, first in German and then in English.

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Two of the stained glass windows

We found the chapel to be an inspiring place to visit and it definitely reminded us of the real reason why we celebrate Christmas, the purpose for setting aside this time to recall what happened on one silent night over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem.

That silent night became the most miraculous silent night of all time, when the Messiah, the Son of God, was born as a “holy infant so tender and mild” and was named Jesus. 

Bethlehem was just the beginning. I call Jesus Christ’s next appearance, Bethlehem, Act 2. No silent night this time, however. The skies will open, trumpets will blast, and a new kingdom will begin.” ~ Max Lucado

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Just another silent night

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Ring around the moon – photo credit: Randy Miller

Just another silent night.

Darkness descended its cloaking curtain over the land.  All that seemed to shine across the landscape were the twinkling of Christmas lights gracing the outlines of homes and trees.

Just another silent night.

The roadway was fairly deserted with almost everyone already having arrived at their destination or tucked away in their beds for that long winter’s nap until the arrival of morning when revelry would begin again.

Just another silent night.

Strapped into our car seat belts, we all seemed in a daze from too much dinner and sweets and a day chock full of activity.  Perhaps there were visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads, but I think not.

Just another silent night.

Baby, confined in her car seat and dressed in her jammies yet wide awake, proved quiet as well as we drove along without noise.

Just another silent night.

We pulled our vehicles into the parking lot and climbed out one by one and even our tones were hushed.  It was, after all, late at night.  Almost eleven p.m.

Just another silent night.

When suddenly, one of us spoke in an excited voice.  “Look! Look at the moon!”

We all craned our necks searching the darkened sky for that orb of light displayed on that silent of nights.

And the sight we witnessed brought “oohs” and “ahhs” as we observed the almost full moon with a large and distinct halo of light encircling it.

Just another silent night.

No, this wasn’t just another silent night.  There was something different in the air, even though it wasn’t the crisp, cold weather we are accustomed to.  This was a different night.

This was a night when we witnessed an unusual phenomena – that ring around the moon.

This was a night when we put all other activities and bedtime aside to make our way to our little country church.

This was a night when our family, all of us together for just a short time, traditionally attend a candlelight service from 11 p.m. to midnight.

This was no ordinary silent night.

This was THE silent night. The night we celebrate the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to this earth as a wee baby.  The night we hear the Good News read from the Bible.  The night we raise our voices in song singing “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.”

This was the night when we light the white Christ candle in the Advent wreath – the candle which provides light to each individual candle throughout the church building.

Yes, this was the night.

This was our silent night. 

As the clock hands turned to 12 o’clock, the old church bell pealed out through the silent night in joyful noise welcoming Christmas day.  With faces glowing from candlelight, we lifted praise and prayer to the Lord while singing that holy hymn – “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.”

The silent, holy night when even the moon displayed splendor.

This was not just another silent night.

This was Christmas Eve.

“Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light…”  ~ Joseph Mohr

 

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com