On a Snowy Night in Mariapfarr

Through drifting snow, young Josef made his way
to Johann’s cottage, nestled in the trees.
He’s come to bless their newborn child, who may
succumb tonight from illness and disease.
The crying child lies cradled by his mother;
the father looks at both; bereft, forlorn.
Wrapped up against the cold, they try to smother
the fear that fills their hearts—moves them to mourn.
The baby lives. Back home, the young priest warms
himself beside the fire. Another scene
comes into view; and soon, a peace transforms
his troubled mind…the images serene:
A silent night, a star, a holy night
and Josef, quill in hand, begins to write.


© 2016 R. Mark Vincent

Public Domain Photo

Author’s Note

Mariapfarr is a small Austrian village in the Mountainous Lungau region south of Salzburg.  While serving as an assistant priest at the Catholic Church in 1816, young Josef Mohr wrote a simple, six stanza poem.  2 years later, while serving as an assistant priest at St. Nikolaus Catholic Church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, the poem would be set to music .  This collaboration with Franz X. Gruber would create one of the most beloved Christmas Carol in the world, Silent Night.