By Dr. Jenny O'Brien
If I were to ask a group of people to name their favourite Christmas carol, chances are that more than one would nominate Silent Night.
This beautiful carol, written in 1816 and set to music two years later, has touched the hearts of many for more than 200 years. Each verse begins with the words, ‘Silent night, holy night’ and yet, if we think about it, it was probably anything but a ‘silent’ night when Jesus was born. Bethlehem would have been abuzz, because a census had been called and everyone descended from the house of David was trying to find a place to stay.
Even the stable where Jesus was born was probably not silent but filled with the noise of the animals kept there. And childbirth itself is not exactly a silent activity! So why did Joseph Mohr choose these two words to begin his carol?