This year’s Christmas Eve service at the Elmira Mennonite Church will mark the 200th anniversary of what is probably the world’s most popular Christmas carol of all time, “Silent Night”.
A drama directed by Gord Davis will tell the story of how “Silent Night” was written and first sung in a little Austrian Church on Christmas Eve in 1818. The carol’s author, Joseph Mohr, was a priest in the Saltzburg area during the Napoleonic wars. He witnessed the withdrawal of troops in 1816-17 and the poverty and economic hardships which accompanied almost twenty years of war. Although, only the first three verses of Mohr’s poem are normally sung, this Christmas Eve service will include all of Mohr’s poem. Referencing the context of his day and our own, two verses decry the plight of human conflict and call for peace on earth through the gift of the Christ.
In addition to the drama, there will be a string ensemble, a choir, caroling and, of course, the singing of “Silent Night” in English and German. Everyone is welcome!”
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