This Christmas carol was written, set to music, and performed for the first time all in one day. On Christmas Eve in 1818, the organ at a small Austrian church was not working. Knowing they needed music for the evening church service, Joseph Mohr, an assistant parish priest in Oberndorf, Austria, wrote the words for a new hymn in a flash of inspiration. He took the lyrics to the church organist, Franz Gruber, who wrote a melody on his guitar. Franz and Joseph performed their beautiful new hymn, “Stille Nacht,” or “Silent Night,” that evening. Its popularity spread quickly throughout the world. Today we sing the first, sixth, and second verses of the original hymn (see Hymns, no. 204).
We know that you’re not kids and that you’ve already figured out that some Christmas stories are not for teenagers. We do hope, though, that you haven’t grown out of the real spirit of Christmas. Stories about elves and reindeer might be for children, but true giving of yourself should be for everyone, especially for great leaders.
Our perfect leader, Jesus Christ, allows us to qualify for God’s greatest gift—eternal life (see D&C 14:7). This Christmas when you read the story of the Savior’s birth, also read some of the stories from His earthly ministry. His example of selfless giving can guide you as you seek for ways to serve this Christmas.
What are you giving for Christmas this year? If you have a great Christmas story to send us, that’s what we’d like for Christmas! Were you someone’s secret Santa? Did you get something on your Christmas wish list that only Heavenly Father knew about? Did you come closer to the Savior? Whatever your Christmas story, the New Era wants to hear about it. Send your story of no more than 1,000 words to:
New Era, Christmas
50 E. North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150, USA
The young men and women of the Folsom Second Ward, Fair Oaks California Stake, filled and donated 50 Christmas stockings for children in need. The young men and young women earned their own money, shopped for the presents, and then got together to fill and decorate the bright red stockings to be given away.
Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable and it becomes the Spirit of Christ.”
—President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Christmas Gifts, Christmas Blessings,” Ensign, Dec. 1995, 2.