Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!  On a fripperious note, (yes, just made that word up right now) I like how our Christmas card turned out this year.  Brendan used Photoshop to create our card based on my specs.  He's taking a graphic design class at school, and I finally feel like his education is paying off :).  Yes, it's all about me...

We only had to do one head swap--can you tell which one?  I love that that lush green backdrop is our own backyard.  I feel so blessed to live in such a green and beautiful part of the world.

Speaking of blessings, Christmas always makes me feel such a sense of abundance.  Being with loved ones, keeping meaningful traditions, eating crazy amounts of tasty treats (well, maybe that's not such a great type of abundance ;) ).

We celebrated Christmas Eve by having a dinner with my parents, my uncle and brother.  After dinner, we played a zany musical chairs game while singing "The 12 Days of Christmas".  Then Aaron read Eugene Field's poem "Just 'Fore Christmas" (a tradition in his family and now ours).  The kids acted out the nativity while we read Luke 2, like we do every year.

 Then we sang "Stille Nacht" (Silent Night) as a family to honor our German roots, particularly my paternal Grandmother whose parents both came from Germany and who sang "Stille Nacht" every Christmas when my Dad was a boy.

The history of this world-famous song is lovely.  A pastor of a small town in Austria, Joseph Mohr, was planning Christmas Eve Mass.  He was worried because his church's organ has been damaged by flooding.  He unearthed a poem he had written several years before, and asked a friend of his (Franz Gruber) to set it to music. Gruber was able to write the song and perform it (with guitar accompaniment) that night. The rest is history.

The German hymn has six verses (compared to the English version's three).  It is interesting to see the literal translation of the hymn--the meaning is quite a bit different from the English version we normally sing.

1. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knab im lockigten Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

1. Silent night! Holy night!
All are sleeping, alone and awake
Only the intimate holy pair,
Lovely boy with curly hair,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

2. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Gottes Sohn! O wie lacht
Lieb´ aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da schlägt uns die rettende Stund´.
Jesus in deiner Geburt!
Jesus in deiner Geburt!

2. Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, O how he laughs
Love from your divine mouth,
Then it hits us - the hour of salvation.
Jesus at your birth!
Jesus at your birth!

3. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Die der Welt Heil gebracht,
Aus des Himmels goldenen Höhn
Uns der Gnaden Fülle läßt seh´n
Jesum in Menschengestalt,
Jesum in Menschengestalt

3. Silent night! Holy night!
Which brought salvation to the world,
From Heaven's golden heights,
Mercy's abundance was made visible to us:
Jesus in human form,
Jesus in human form.

4. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Wo sich heut alle Macht
Väterlicher Liebe ergoß
Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß
Jesus die Völker der Welt,
Jesus die Völker der Welt.

4. Silent night! Holy night!
Where on this day all power
of fatherly love poured forth
And like a brother lovingly embraced
Jesus the peoples of the world,
Jesus the peoples of the world.

5. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Lange schon uns bedacht,
Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit,
In der Väter urgrauer Zeit
Aller Welt Schonung verhieß,
Aller Welt Schonung verhieß.

5. Silent night! Holy night!
Already long ago planned for us,
When the Lord frees from wrath
Since the beginning of ancient times
A salvation promised for the whole world.
A salvation promised for the whole world.

6. Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Alleluja,
Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
Jesus der Retter ist da!
Jesus der Retter ist da!

6. Silent night! Holy night!
To shepherds it was first made known
By the angel, Alleluia;
Sounding forth loudly far and near:
Jesus the Savior is here!
Jesus the Savior is here!

I am so grateful for the Christmas season--for the chance to glory not only in the abundance of friends and family, gifts and treats, but in the abundance of life that only comes through Jesus Christ.

In case you are like me and can't get enough of great Christmas music, here is a link to a video of the Thomanerchor (St Thomas Boy's Choir) singing "Stille Nacht".

 Merry Christmas!


  1. So many great traditions! I cannot figure out the head swap - very impressive job. What a good look'n family! Happy new year to you and to yours :) XOL

  2. realhousewifeofidahoDecember 27, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Hey Erin! You have such a beautiful family! I can't tell at all which head was swapped either. You need to use this photo on a wall! I love hearing about the history of a song. I just posted about "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! :) Kerstin

  3. Hi lovely,

    You look all picture-perfect in your Christmas photo! I hope you're having a wonderful break.

    And here's to friendship over the seas in 2012!



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