How A Christmas Song Stopped a World War

How A Christmas Song Stopped a World War

AVN Staff
December 25, 2019

Beginning with the birth of the reason we celebrate this annual event, Christmas has long been a season of hope for miracles, prayers for love, and goodwill toward friends and even those who we don’t kindly upon very often.

There is something about this season (unlike any other) that will compel the grumpiest of us to open our hearts and, more often than not, “our wallets” to those who are the neediest amongst us. Literally, millions of us donate to volunteers dressed in Santa costumes ringing bells in front of stores. In contrast, others will silently pay off complete strangers “layaway’s” at Walmart and other stores for the often disadvantaged who are merely trying to provide gifts for their children.

History is rife with legends, tales, and stories of Christmas miracles which have happened across our globe for the past two-thousands plus years. 

None other is probably more apparent as a miracle than the story of how a now ever-popular Christmas hymn actually stopped a World War at least for a short time.

The legend of unarguably the most popular Christmas song of all time “Silent-Night” must first be explained to give a better picture of “how and why this miracle happened in the first place.”

There are many versions of how this ever-popular hymn came about. The original text of the song was widely attributed to a Catholic Priest by the name of Joseph Mohr in 1814. Due to the locale of the penning, great composers such as Mozart and Beethoven were even credited with having written the now-famous song. Another miracle; It would not be until 1995 that an original handwritten version (in Mohr’s own hand) was found and authenticated (from 1816), and now the proof of who had written the lyrics been substantiated. 

In a little over two-hundred years, Silent Night (the German version is “Stille Nacht”) became the most recorded Christmas Hymn in world history. The once Austrian/German text has been translated into over 300 different languages. But with all the accolades the hymn has achieved, none would be greater than when Silent Night stopped a raging war. 

It is widely known that World War I was primarily fought on two fronts. One being the air with the now perfected “fly-machines,” which carried machine guns and small bombs. The other being in “trenches.” Make sure to view this video; it is well worth the time. 

Over the decades, many versions of how this “truce” came about have been told. What we do know is that the French ground forces, along with the British troops, stretched for hundreds of miles across Europe. Hundreds of thousands of French and British were in one muddy trench, with the Germans often within (spitting distance) were on the other side in their muddy trenches. 

Because the enemy (depending on which side) had the small bi-planes, and there were not yet anti-aircraft weapons, the pilots could bomb and shoot (pretty much) at will, and the soldiers lay in trenches nearly totally helpless.

By the time Christmas Eve in 1914 had rolled around, over one-million soldiers on both sides lay dead across Europe.

Imagine one of the bloodiest wars in history being stopped by a Christmas hymn?

A century later, we are still left with multiple accounts as to exactly “how” the truce began, but one thing everyone does agree upon is that “Silent Night” played a role. Once the bells rang from the nearby town, the killing fields became silent, and the only thing that could be heard was the soft renditions of the timeless Christmas classic.

The peace that occurred for those hundreds of miles of warfare did include wine, cheese, soccer games, and friendships being manufactured. 

The legacy left from those few days has indeed endured for over a hundred years. While for most of the year, many of us are jaded as to whether or not humanity is becoming more cruel and sarcastic. The one thing we can still all agree upon is that Christmas is still the season of giving, and love for our fellow brothers and sisters. Christ was born, and for humans to still celebrate over 2019 years later, one has to honestly believe that this day is indeed so special for so many reasons. 

If a song about the birth of our savior can stop a World War, imagine what would happen if everyone would believe in the miracle? 

By Ken Crow