Revd Christoph Wutscher
This year we celebrate 200 years of the Christmas carol Silent Night. But, in a way, we should be celebrating the 202nd anniversary, as the text of the carol had already been penned in 1816. But, of course, it was in 1818 that the text was famously paired with the music we all know so well, which helped to carry the text around the globe in its various translations. For a good tune can just do that not only by serving as a memorable carrier for the words, but also by carrying an emotional and perhaps spiritual response to the words.
In a way one could argue, that we do not share the text of Silent Night globally at all, because with each attempt at translation, some of the meaning will change, if sometimes only ever so slightly - but we definitely all share in the music, for music is a fairly universal language. The carol's gentle rocking rhythm and simple folk music harmonies transmit a message of their own: a message of gentle love and longing for peace and quiet joy.
Perhaps this could be something for us to consider this Advent and Christmas, as we hear (or sing) well known melodies and reflect on waiting for the birth of the divine child: how a longing for love, peace and joy is really universal (such as the gift of music is) - and that we are to seek these qualities above all other, allowing Christ to be born in our lives.
Yours in Christ,