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holy night on pbs

Before Christmas slips away a video recommendation. In 2015 PBS produced The First Silent Night, a documentary of the history of the “world’s most popular carol.” If like me, you suspect PBS is anti-Christian, prepare to be shocked.

The documentary historically and reverentially recounts how two impoverished young men, Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber, collaborated in a small village chapel. In one day they united Gruber’s music to a poem Mohr had been working on for two years, creating the classic carol describing the meaning of Jesus’ birth.
PBS documents the influence Silent Night has had, from being translated into 300 languages to nearly bringing World War One to a halt in 1914. While the carol quickly became popular, the lyricist lived and died in poverty. His grave was lost to history until uncovered during the post WW2 clean up.

2014, in honor of the centennial of the Christmas Truce launched by German soldiers singing Stille Nacht in their battlefield trenches, two British musicians were commissioned by the Church of England to compose a commemorative bridge and verse. If you watch nothing else of this documentary, watch their interview followed by a performance of the 2014 version. It begins at minute 41.

Christ the Savior
Christ the Savior is born
Peace and hope have come
Through Jesus Christ the Son
Silent night, holy night
God’s great love, giving light
Let the world together rejoice
Sing forever with one voice
Heaven’s hope is here
Heaven’s hope is here