Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Magic of Oberndorf

Imagine preparing for Christmas Eve church services and discovering that morning that the pipe organ didn't work. What a dilemma for Pastor Joseph Mohr in 1818 at the Church of Saint Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria.

According to Historian Bill Egan he walked to Choirmaster Franz Gruber’s home. Pastor Mohr had written a poem some years earlier, and asked Gruber to set it to music for the evening service. He did, and the rest is history. Their combined efforts blessed the world with Stille Nacht (Silent Night).

My sister and I visited the small octagonal Memorial Chapel on its mound. Climbing red roses grew up the sides of the Chapel. The inside might seat twenty-five people. Eight German Frauleins on a bike break, each holding a green apple, sang Stille Nacht acapella. We smiled thinking of the joy of Christ’s birth.

The Frauleins left. We heard music again we recognized. Two others from a different country did also. We four went out. Each in our own language, we sang together Amazing Grace. There’s still magic in Oberndorf.

Copyright 2005 Red Convertible Travel Series

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