Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Candlelit Silent Night

I grew up in the Lutheran Church. When I was very young, it was the Danish Lutheran Church, although my parents weren't Danish (the people there were very nice, and they had the best coffee!). Over the years, the church attracted Lutherans from many northern European countries, and I had the great good fortune to make friends with Danes, Estonians, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, and others.

On Christmas Eve, we had our candlelight celebration, and the last song of the service was always Silent Night. With the main lights out and each person holding a small lit candle, all would sing the carol in their own language. 

I always loved to hear all those voices and lyrics around me. It was an emotional time for many, as they remembered, I'm sure, past Christmases with their families in their homelands. There was always a tear or two.

Silent Night in German (it's original language)

In Estonian

In Danish

In English, and in keeping with those childhood Christmas Eves in the Lutheran church, this choir is from Peace Lutheran (from where, I don't know).

I would love to find a video of Silent Night sung in all of these languages all at once, but I'm sure none exists. But whenever I have attended a candlelight service in years since, they usually end with Silent Night, and then I hear them all in my heart.


lifeshighway said...

What a beautiful memory. I enjoyed the links to all the renditions of Silent Night.

ChrisJ said...


I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It truly is a very special memory, and it was interesting to search for the different versions.

askcherlock said...

Beautiful videos, Chris. We wish you the best of memories and a very Merry Christmas!

ChrisJ said...

Rick and Cher,

Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Owen Gray said...

These days -- when we seem to focus on what divides us -- it's worth remembering that, below the surface, we share the same experiences and the same planet.

Hels said...

As we get older, the memories of childhood become more vague but also more emotional. Sometimes we can be pulled up with an unexpected jolt, based on nothing more substantial than a piece of music or the smell of bread baking in someone's oven.

I dug up an old article that was published in an Australian newspaper in 2006. I thought that it contained a lot of material about my favourite books in childhood, but that was not so. In any case, I added it as a post in my blog

Would you be interested in writing a post on your favourite childhood reading? I am thinking of, for example, up to the age of 16.

Peace and good health

ChrisJ said...

So right, we all want to belong and be in a community.


That would be a fun post to do. I already know what it will be - a set of books from mursery to about age 8 (I still have them!)
And you are quite right. What we lose in detail, we make up for in intensity.

Christine said...

Cousin Christine.. I really enjoyed this too...what a special memory... I have a wonderful memory of Silent Night too.... the choir would leave singing Joy to the World and we would all have a candle that would be lit during this time then all the lights would go out and the Choir would sing Silent Night in the vestibule...then they would hum it and then would be joined by the chimes.... it was a big old church in Toronto and we enjoyed many Christmas services there .. it was well worth the hours drive to share in this, as our own church did not have a Christmas Eve service but only Christmas Day.... it must be even so much more special that the memories you have are from your home church.... GOD bless and Merry Christmas..Leslie

ChrisJ said...

Leslie, What a wonderful surprise to find you commenting here. Those Christmas childhood memories are some of the most powerful.

Hope to talk to you soon,

ChrisJ said...

Anonymous, What a nice compliment. It would be great to know who you are and to see your blog.


Dorothy said...

What a lovely idea, and I shall listen to each video you've posted.

Merry Christmas...
Dorothy from grammology

ChrisJ said...


I'm sure you'll enjoy them. I wonder what other song has been translated into so many languages.

Ciss B said...

Lovely...thanks for the songs on video! I don't know if they have all of them together anywhere. I've only ever heard it in German besides English of course.

ChrisJ said...


Actually, when I stop to think about such a production, it would be terrible in a recording. I think this is definitely one of those things when you just have to be there.