If there is one simple lesson from this story, it’s the beauty of brokenness. How rarely we would choose the disintegration of our things, our lives, and our habits?
Still, it’s in the chaos of our ever-changing life, God brings growth, perspective, opportunity, and beauty. As Jesus said in John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
The question is this. What do mice, a broken organ, and Christmas Eve have to do in common?
These were the all-important threads that wove the history of the well-loved Christmas carol, Silent Night.
Joseph Mohr, a young priest at the Church of Saint Nicholas (not making that up) in Obendorf, Austria (pictured above) was met with seeming disaster on Christmas Eve in 1818. Midnight mass was soon approaching, but mice had chewed away at the organ’s bellows rendering it useless for the night.
Knowing there must still be music for the Christmas tradition, Mohr didn’t give up.
Remembering a poem he had written a couple years back, he went to his friend, Franz Xaver Gruber, who quickly composed a tune for this piece. Accompanied by Gruber’s guitar, the two men sang “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,” a song which has now been translated into more than 200 languages.
Originally this song had six verses (in German) and though we usually see but three in English, enjoy a couple of these bonus verses (translated circa 1869).
Silent night! Holiest night!
Darkness flies and all is light!
Shepherd hear the angels sing,
“Hallelujah! Hail the King!
Jesus Christ is here!
Jesus Christ is here!”
Silent night! Peaceful night!
Child of heaven! O how bright!
Thou didst smile when Thou wast born; [love that line]
Blessed was that happy morn,
Full of heavenly joy.
Full of heavenly joy.
Mice may have seemed to eat the bellows of your organ. Deadlines might seem to be pressing in your life. Your plans may seem on hold or even derailed. But friends, God’s glory is often most loudly broadcasted when our plans are the sacrifice. As Paul learned, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Where in your life is God simply clearing the stage of your life for His glory to be displayed? It might seem like a silent night with no organ, but God is only preparing to send a message much further than Obendorf, Austria and He is choosing to use you.