THE FROG POND - Gruber Got It Wrong


By Suzanne Mazer Stewart

Franz Gruber gave us that beautiful, sweet carol, "Silent Night." We all know it, most of us love it, and at Christmas time, it's everywhere, in all sorts of wonderful and not-so-wonderful versions. I have a little problem with it, though. You see, I think the old boy got the words ALL wrong.

Now, St. Luke tells us that angels appeared to shepherds with their flock of sheep, and that Bethlehem was so crowded that Mary gave birth in a stable. Let's stop for a minute and look this scene over. First, the angels and the shepherds. Shepherds in those days were good old country boys. A group of Heavenly hosts appear in front of some good ole West Virginia boys in the middle of the night, out of nowhere, I can guarantee you there will be quite a commotion, regardless of what those angels got to say!

Now, these angels didn't come down from Heaven awhispering, either. Nope, they came "singing" and "proclaiming" their Good News. When my little "angels" commence to singing, there are no earplugs strong enough. And we'll not even guess the decibel level when Daddy "proclaims" something to this flock! Don't forget the sheep, either. Ever heard the ruckus a bunch of startled sheep can create?

Next, let's take a peek inside that stable, shall we? you've got the cattle over there, and some donkeys over here, maybe some hens or geese nesting in the corner somewhere. All those animals disturbed and restless, stomping and chomping in the hay and straw, talking amongst themselves. Why, just turning on the light in our barn was enough to get at least several startled "moos." I can't imagine the fuss having a couple and their baby in their midst must have caused.

Now, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever here, there WAS a baby born in that stable that night. I don't know about Mary, but it took 2000 years of medical science's best drugs to finally get me quiet when my kids were being born. My mom even heard me say some words she didn't even know I knew! Even if she delivered without a peep, there is nothing in the Scriptures that tell us Jesus was anything but a baby boy that night. When my son was born last March, he was so mad, he howled and hollered for a good long time afterward. Mary would have had to sing him lullabies, like every other mother in time immemorial, to quiet him down. Babies do have a way of being loud. So, while it is undoubtedly a beautiful and timeless song, if you look at that first Christmas so long ago, I think you'll agree it was anything but a SILENT night!

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