Silent night, holy night,
all is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mind,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.
“Silent Night,” verse 1 (UMH 239)
Of all nights for the organ to break! On Christmas Eve in 1818, the organist of the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria, found himself in a most unfortunate and disappointing situation. The organ was broken. Repairs could not be made in time for midnight mass, just hours away. Without music to accompany the hymns, the worship service would feel somewhat lacking. How could they celebrate Christmas without music?
The organist went to the parish priest to inform him of the problem. Yet the priest had an idea. A few years earlier, he had composed an original Christmas poem. Perhaps the organist could set it to music and play it on his guitar — at least their congregation would have something special to enjoy, even if it wasn’t what they had originally planned. Together, the two worked throughout the afternoon to complete the new hymn. That evening, during the midnight mass, the church organist strummed his guitar as he and the parish priest sang the new and moving Christmas hymn.
The organist was Franz Gruber, and the parish priest was Fr. Joseph Mohr. Their hymn? A Christmas favorite, known to us as “Silent Night.” On that Christmas Eve two centuries ago, they offered God and their congregation a hymn that continues to enhance and inspire us today.
Yet what is most compelling about this story is the fact that this hymn might never have been written if the church organ had not broken in the first place. Still, this is not just the story of “Silent Night.” This is the story of how God works in our lives. We worship a God who transforms our brokenness into something new and beautiful and inspiring.
In this season when Advent overlaps with COVID-tide, I invite you to come to God as you are – flaws and scars and brokenness and all. Offer God your “broken organ,” and allow God to transform you.
In the midst of brokenness, the unanticipated challenges, and the beauty God can bring through them all, may you remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
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- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/