So you can read my books

Friday, December 24, 2010


This Christmas Eve as I sit alone with ghosts from my past, it occurs to me that each of us is a Silent Knight ...

A Silent Knight for whatever creed shapes our thoughts and steps.

No matter our words, it is our actions that speak for us.

Have we spoken love and forgiveness to only retort sharply at the harried store clerk who did not respond fast enough for us?

Have we scoured the stores for just the right present, the perfect gift wrap to snap at the very ones we bought it for out of irritation and weariness?

Have we slaved over a king's spread of assorted recipes, only to have no appetite or warmth or patience for those we prepared the delicious dishes for?

If we were to glance up and see the flag of the true creed which our actions proclaim we live by, would we cringe in disbelief?

Today books, films and Internet sites are filled with fanciful tales purporting to tell the history of "Silent Night."

Some tell of mice eating the bellows of the organ creating the necessity for a hymn to be accompanied by a guitar. Others claim that Joseph Mohr was forced to write the words to a new carol in haste since the organ would not play.

The German words for the original six stanzas of the carol we know as "Silent Night" were written by Joseph Mohr in 1816, when he was a young priest assigned to a pilgrimage church in Mariapfarr, Austria.

The fact is, we have no idea if any particular event inspired Joseph Mohr to pen his poetic version of the birth of the Christchild. The world is fortunate, however, that he didn't leave it behind when he was transferred to Oberndorf the following year (1817).

On December 24, 1818 Joseph Mohr journeyed to the home of musician-schoolteacher Franz Gruber who lived in an apartment over the schoolhouse in nearby Arnsdorf. He showed his friend the poem and asked him to add a melody and guitar accompaniment so that it could be sung at Midnight Mass.

His reason for wanting the new carol is unknown.

Later that evening, as the two men, backed by the choir, stood in front of the main altar in St. Nicholas Church and sang "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" for the first time, they could hardly imagine the impact their composition would have on the world.

And so, they were Silent Knights for their God. As we, too, are Silent Knights for our gods : esteem in the eyes of others, wealth, social status, world acclaim, control over others, control over ourselves,

or He who sang the universe into being.

And we can hardly imagine the impact our actions, positive or caustic, will have on the network of fragile souls in our world.

May your Christmas Eve be magical and healing. Me and my Christmas ghosts tip our egg nog to you, while we listen to Enya singing "Silent Night." (Picture courtesy of S. Ward)


  1. Perfect song choice for song a spiritual day. Enya is on of my favorites.

    Thank you for sharing the history of Silent Night with us. I enjoyed the history behind it. I'm glad you're not alone, you have your spirits with you.

    I will be thinking of you today and tomorrow. My company usually leaves early. I will check in with your later....


  2. Thank You. I love this song. It was my favorite to sing in mass as a child and I wasn't big on church but at Christmas it was pretty.

    Thanks for the history lesson.

    We have some gosts with us too. Ghosts that we love so we keep them around always and all is well.

    Hope all is well with you too on this Christmas Eve. Have a beautiful Christmas, Roland:)

  3. Michael : Enya is one of my favorites, especially for the holidays. A man who has spent his life with loved ones and friends is never alone, even if they have gone on before him. They have left pieces of themselves with us and murmur past words of laughter and love when the lights grow dim.

    Have a great dinner tonight with your guests. And an even greater New Year.

    Terry : My earliest Christmas memory is singing this song in front of the school at the evening Christmas Festival.

    I'm glad I didn't bore with the often mistold history of "Silent Night." Glad you have nuturing ghosts of your own this Christmas Eve evening. Have a great, magical time. Roland

  4. Thanks, Roland. I love the magical wishes you've been sending me. I wish you magic too. You and Gypsy and your darling ghosts!

    I don't do egg nog and I forgot the champagne this year but I have some wine.

    So, here's looking at you, Roland;)

  5. I am raising a glass of mulled wine to you Roland D Yeomans for another lyrical and poetic post!!!

    Have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas! Take care

  6. Just stopped by to say, jingle jingle and a Happy New Writing Year.

  7. Roland, May Mother Earth hold you in her arms and Father Sun shine his light on you through the next year.

    And Brother or Sister Agent call you!

    Wishing you a peaceful Christmas filled with unexpected delights.

  8. Anne : I've felt a special closeness to the Turquoise Woman (Mother Earth) and Father Sun, too. But I especially wish for Brother or Sister Agent and Publisher to call us both. May the wonder and magic of Christmas be yours tonight and tomorrow.

    Happy Whisk : Thanks for the visit to cheer me. It helped. May Christmas and New Year's only bring you happy surprises!

    Kitty : I'm raising my egg nog back to you. Gypsy is just batting her catnip ball around, bored with all the carols. Merry Christmas.

    Terry : To be truthful, I enjoy a cold Coca Cola more than anything else on the holidays! Thanks for the return visit and appreciating my wishes for you to be visited by Christmas magic today and tomorrow. Happy Holidays!

  9. Rare and beautiful post, thank you Roland. I love when you emerge and just talk. Though you did throw in a history lesson, you talked about you. These are my favorite posts, so I've now received my 'gift' from Roland.

    Peace be to you, brother cousin. May the stars shine extra brightly over Lake Charles tonight and Santa leave behind him goodness and mercy.

    Happy Christmas, Olivia

  10. Olivia : And I received my Christmas gift, too : a nice comment and greeting from you. I always try to give something besides me in my posts. I hate to be like that starlet who, having bored to tears the movie producer, said, "Enough about me. What do you think about me?"

    Have a refrain for "Auld Lang Syne" for me tonight, Roland

  11. Beautiful. I'm so glad you took the time to post on the history one of my favorite christmas songs. And Enya, one of my favorite singers. A plus, plus here.

    Thanks so much. I hope your Christmas isn't lonely Roland. I'll be thinking of you and wishing good things for the coming year for you.


  12. Thanks, Donna : No, I am not lonely this Christmas. I have become a private person of late ... sort of like Sherlock Holmes, wrapped up in his cases. But with me, it is being involved with my novels.

    I like Enya, too. I pray Christmas is all you need and want it to be, Roland

  13. Hi Roland .. how interesting to hear the back story to Silent Night .. you too Roland .. have a peaceful blessed Christmas time .. and Enya is the perfect Silent Night to listen to .. thank you for posting it .. Hilary

  14. Hilary : Yes, Silent Night has always been one of my favorites, if not my favorite, Christmas carol. Merry Christmas to Hardwick, you, and your mother! Roland

  15. Hi Roland .. thank you - a silent peaceful time is what we're having .. my mother sleeps a great deal, but we're fine and move slowly forward. Hardwick thank goodness is her constant companion! Let's all have peaceful and happy paths towards and into the New Year .. Hilary