Words: John Freeman Young; Music: Franz Xaver Gruber (1859)

Lyrics

Silent night holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing alleluia;
Christ the Savior, is born
Christ the Savior, is born.

Silent night holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Background

The date given at the top of the page is for when the English-language version was created. The original lyrics were written in 1816, in German – “Stille Nacht” – and were by Father Joseph Mohr. Also, the version of the melody that is generally sung today differs slightly the original, which was a sprightly, dance-like tune.

“Stille Nacht” was a carol originally written for voice and guitar. One story explaining this says that the local church organ was no longer working, so Mohr and Gruber created a song for accompaniment by guitar instead. Others believe that Mohr simply wanted a new Christmas carol that he could play on his guitar!

Performances

Here is an extremely popular version sung by Bing Crosby: