When I was a kid I heard my parent’s play Jimmy Dean’s Christmas card album every Christmas. I loved how he summed up the history of the song while a guitar softly plays Away in a manger before he sings Silent Night. In 1818 at St. Nicholas a small church in Austria the song was born. The music director Josef Mohr had written a poem about the nativity scene and for the Christmas Eve service, he asked the organist Franz Xaver Gruber if he could come up with a melody to accompany the poem. The church organ was broken so the congregation heard it for the first time on Gruber’s guitar.
Weeks later well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived at the church repairing the organ. He had Gruber test his work and he did so with Silent Night. Mauracher was so impressed with the song he brought the poem and music back to his Alpine village home, Kapfing where two well-known families of singers the Rainers and the Strassers proceeded to add it to their Christmas season collection. Both groups spread the song across Europe and twenty years after it was written The Rainers brought it to the United States. The song has been written in 300 languages around the world where it’s a Christmas classic.
Arizona, Phoenix, in particular, doesn’t have the snow to accompany the Christmas classic but we have enough sun to brighten up your day. The Christmas spirit is well represented here for if you fly over here at night this time of year you’ll see a dazzling display of colors below. Local residents that have relatives (only two hours away)in the higher elevations of 5,000 to over 7,000 feet often visit them to see a snow glistening sight. All is calm, and all is bright.