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Silent Night, Holy Night December 16, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature.

2013-12-23 15-10-19_0019Some Christmas Carols are exciting.

Fa la la la la la la la la! 

Others fill us with Peace, Hope, Love, and Light.

Silent Night . . . Holy Night
All is Calm . . . All is Bright

On Wednesday, we went to the Island library for a presentation of Christmas Stories  . . . written by Dylan Thomas (A Child’s Christmas in Wales), Truman Capote (A Christmas Memory), and Grace Paley (The Loudest Voice) and performed by the Asolo Repertory Theatre Guild Play Readers.

The stories added a heart-warming, nostalgic touch to our celebration this year . . . especially the last “story” they shared about The Christmas Truce in Flanders Field during World War I.

The Asolo Play Readers based their account of the WWI truce on soldiers’ letters about what transpired on Christmas Eve and Day between Germans on one side of the trenches and British and French soldiers on the other.

As the sun set on Christmas Eve, the guns fell silent.

The Germans sent a chocolate cake over to the Brits with a request for a temporary cease fire.  Brittish and French soldiers agreed and sent gifts of tobacco across enemy lines to the German troops.

German soldiers up and down the line sang O Tannenbaum while holding aloft miniature Christmas trees sparkling with glowing candles.

After the Germans sang Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht in German, the British joined in to sing Silent Night in English:

Silent night, Holy night!
Darkness flies.  All is light!

“Composed in a few short hours on Christmas Eve in 1818, to fill an urgent need for a special Christmas song in a small Bavarian church, this exquisite carol is a Yuletide favorite in practically every language in the Christian world.”  [Cherished Christmas Carols, p. 1]

Shepherds hear the angels sing:
Hallelujah . . . hail the King!

Watching the twinkling lights on our trees, or the moonlight peering in the windows, allows us to bask in Peace on Earth . . . Goodwill toward Men.

For a festive glimpse at Christmas from a bygone era  . . . Missouri Town 1855: A Christmas Celebration (Third Hand Art).

Need some ideas for giving (or receiving and reading) this Christmas . . . check out Maggie’s picks for Five Books That Would Make Great Christmas Gifts.


1. Jackie L. Robinson - December 16, 2011

Always love a bit of history shared around pieces of life that touch our hearts. This is a beautiful story of how this particular Christmas carol came to be. Thank you! xoxo

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

It’s a special song . . . love how it was used by opposing factions to instill peace on the front lines almost 100 years after its debut. 😀

2. suzicate - December 16, 2011

There are many pieces of gratitude that fill this season with collective gratitude…thank you. I love Christmas carols.

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

I’ve heard of the Christmas Truce before, but this presentation was a great reminder of the commonality and unity of man . . . underlying all our Ego concerns.

3. Andra Watkins - December 16, 2011

A Child’s Christmas in Wales is one of my all-time favorites. Thank you for reminding me of it again. I have yet to read it this season.

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

The part they presented dealt with FIRE! . . . firemen . . . and the aunt who asked the firemen a particularly relevant question:

Would any of you like something to read?

4. munchow - December 16, 2011

Thanks for conveying the story behind this Christmas carol. It’s quite a touching story in an otherwise cruel time when it came about. Let’s hope for more Christmas Truce in these days, too.

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

It’s a special song . . . love how it was used by opposing factions to instill peace on the front lines almost 100 years after its debut in Bavaria.

Peace on Earth.

5. thirdhandart - December 16, 2011

Thank you for the mention. I’ve heard the story of The Christmas Truce in Flanders Field during World War I before. It restores a glimmer of hope in the words: Peace on Earth . . . Goodwill toward Men.
I love your collection of Santas. Thank you so much for sharing a little Christmas joy!

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

Thanks, Theresa. You too! I loved the photos your shared of your trip back in time to 1855. 😀

6. sufilight - December 16, 2011

What a touching story behind the Christmas Truce, one which I was not aware of. Thanks for this little bit of Christmas hope!

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

It does add a splash of hope to the landscape, doesn’t it? If soldiers on the front lines can set aside their differences and their weapons for one day . . . maybe we can figure out how to create a permanent Cease Fire.

7. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - December 16, 2011

Thanks for sharing that Nancy.

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

You’re welcome, Greg. It’s a touching war/peace story.

8. kateshrewsday - December 16, 2011

An extraordinary truce, Nancy, and a story we all love here.

nrhatch - December 16, 2011

I know that I’ve heard about it before . . . but it’s a nice time of year to be reminded that PEACE is possible.

9. Christmas Memories « It Just Dawned On Me - December 16, 2011

[…] Silent Night, Holy Night (nrhatch.wordpress.com) […]

10. jannatwrites - December 16, 2011

I didn’t know this. Thanks for the history lesson. Now, if we could only get the truce to last the other 364 days of the year 🙂

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

And if we could just get badly-behaved people to STIFLE IT. 😀

11. SidevieW - December 17, 2011

i love the memory of the battlefield christmas truces. if only they could carry that forward

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

The next year the commanders ordered that there be NO cease fire or fraternizing with the enemy. 😦

12. souldipper - December 17, 2011

My fave – Silent Night. Your arrangement for your photo is grand. I especially love the vase with the poinsettias.

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

Thanks, Amy. That’s my “Merlin” Santa next to the poinsettia . . . watching the last rays of the setting sun.

13. Tilly Bud - December 17, 2011

I never tire of hearing the story of the Christmas ceasefire. It gives me hope for humanity.

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

If we didn’t hang on to hope . . . we would be lost in despair.

14. adeeyoyo - December 17, 2011

Christmas, here in the southern hemisphere, is symbolised by carols and poinsettias. No fires in the hearth, snowy scenes or hot toddies for us, oh, no! Thanks, Nancy. Btw I LOVE Christmas carols!!!

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

Thanks, Denise.

We just got back from the Farmers Market with lots of red and green veggies . . . red tomatoes, green peppers, red potatoes, green beans, red watermelon, green cucumber . . . and the gift of a poinsettia from our favorite vendor!

Tonight, we are going to a walk through the woods at De Soto ~ with musicians along the candle-lit trails playing carols . . . and a roaring bonfire! I’ll keep a lookout for a Hot Toddy. 😉

15. bluebee - December 17, 2011

Those truce stories indicate hope for Humanity

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

I agree. It’s a light in the darkness . . . a calm in the storm.

16. Sandra Bell Kirchman - December 17, 2011

I love singing Christmas carols. I have a nice singing voice but, unfortunately, I can’t carry a tune very well. If I am singing with others or have good accompaniment, it’s not too bad, but if I am singing harmony, I almost always end up singing the main melody instead of the alto counterpoint.

Interestingly, Silent Night is the ONLY Christmas carol I can carry the tune mostly all the way through. Not sure why, but guaranteed it’s the carol I sing the most at Christmas time. Thanks for sharing, Nancy.

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

Singing is good for our hearts. We just got back from an illuminated walk through the woods at De Soto . . . with musicians stationed along the trails and water lapping at the shore. Lovely.

17. jeanne - December 17, 2011

That is an incredible story…thank you for sharing it.

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

It is incredible. At places on the front line, the opposing forces got together on Christmas day to play football and other games. And then the truce ended and the fighting resumed.

18. ElizOF - December 17, 2011

Silent Night is one of my favorite holiday songs… I don’t like a lot of the Xmas songs but this one resonates. 🙂

nrhatch - December 17, 2011

I love listening to Christmas songs . . . in December. If I hear them in October, I find them rather obnoxious.

19. Nicola - December 18, 2011

What incredible moments those must have been. Its a beautiful carol.

nrhatch - December 18, 2011

Very calming and soothing . . . reminding us to “Let It Be.”

20. LittleMissVix - December 19, 2011

I always loved the story that there was peace for Christmas!

nrhatch - December 19, 2011

I’d heard of it before . . .having the playreaders act out the story made it sink in a bit deeper. It makes me believe that most of us could get along, if we could just convince the “powers that be” to give peace a chance.

21. Song From Heaven | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life - December 22, 2011

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