Stille Nacht, Hellige Nacht

Christmas Eve 2018 marked the 200th anniversary of the world’s most beloved Christmas carol, Silent Night.

Coincidentally, this coming Sunday marks the 164th anniversary of the song’s composer unsuccessful attempt at confirming authorship of Silent Night’s melody.

Over the years there have been lots of stories about the song’s debut, ranging from a church organ in disrepair requiring a musical arrangement for a guitar, to the song being sung only once by its two creators and then discarded.

Like the song itself, the beauty of the true story of Silent Night, or Stille Nacht, Hellige Nacht in the original German, is the simplicity of the song’s heritage.

BACK STORY A young German priest named Joseph Mohr wrote the poem in 1816 that later became the lyrics to the song. 

On Christmas Eve day in 1818 Mohr presented his poem to his musician friend Franz Gruber and asked if he could create a melody and guitar accompaniment that could be sung at Midnight Mass in Obendorf, Austria.

That night Gruber and Mohr, accompanied by the St. Nicholas Church choir, sang the song for the first time. 

St. Nicholas Chapel – Obendorf, Austria

The original composition contained six stanzas compared to the three in the contemporary version and the original lyrics also were slightly different than what is usually sung today.

How did a hastily arranged composition intended for a single Christmas Eve service come to be translated into hundreds of languages and become the world’s best known Christmas carol?

You might say it was a Christmas miracle.

THE DISPERSION OF SILENT NIGHT An Austrian organ builder and repairman named Karl Mauracher traveled frequently to Obendorf over the years to repair the organ at St. Nicholas.

One visit after the debut of Silent Night Mauracher obtained a copy of the composition and shared it with the Strassers and the Rainer Family, two families of traveling folk singers based in his home area of the Ziller Valley. (Think the Von Trapp family immortalized in The Sound of Music but a century earlier.) 

The Strassers reportedly changed some of Franz Gruber’s original notes into the version we know today at a concert in Leipzig, Austria in 1832.  Around that same time the Rainer Family sang the carol before an audience which included Emperor Franz I (Leader of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and Tsar Alexander I (Russian emperor from 1801-1825).

The beloved Christmas carol was first sung in America by the Rainer Family outside Trinity Church in New York City in 1839.

A decade later the song was famous throughout Europe but its origins were not.  Father Joseph Mohr died penniless in 1848 after donating his meager earnings as a priest to child education and elder care in Wagrain, Austria.

Silent night, Holy night,

All is calm, All is bright… 

THE MYSTERY OF SILENT NIGHT During his lifetime Franz Gruber produced numerous orchestral arrangements of the classic, but when public speculation arose as to the popular song’s composer (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were the most popular guesses), Franz Gruber wrote to authorities in Berlin on December 30, 1854 asserting he was the real composer.

Gruber went to his grave in 1863 unacknowledged as the melody’s creator. It wasn’t until 1994, when an early Joseph Mohr arrangement of the song with the words, “Melodie von Fr. Xav. Gruber” handwritten in the upper right-hand corner was authenticated, that the composer’s identity was finally credited.

God has used imperfect humanity for millennia to help illustrate His love for mankind by sending His only begotten Son in the form of a human baby to reconcile us to Him.

Father Joseph Mohr and music composer Franz Gruber can sleep in heavenly peace knowing that their reverent Silent Night continues to touch millions of people 200 years after their inspired collaboration.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For those wanting to experience the Silent Night Chapel here in the United States, check out a life-size replica of Austria’s St. Nicholas Church at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan.


Photo sources:,, 

Thanks for reading Dean Riffs. Welcome to all those who love American liberty, free enterprise, and who believe God has blessed our country.

Copyright 2018, Dean A. George©


A Dental Odyssey 1964 – 2018

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 54 years since the blonde-haired lad with the nasal voice confided his big secret at the far northern manufacturing plant where he worked with hundreds of others.

The secluded plant required a positive can-do attitude from all its employees due to the demands of being open 24/7 the last few months of the year in order to get their products out in time for Christmas.

No Grinches need apply.

One day though, Employee #1224  decided he couldn’t pretend any longer. He knew his production and efforts had slipped due to a lack of focus and preoccupation with pursuing his real passion.

Things came to a head one morning when the gruff-speaking foreman pressed his disgruntled line worker.  “What’s eatin’ you boy?”

Without even thinking, Employee #1224 blurted out exactly why he was unhappy.

At that point, work on the assembly line came to an abrupt standstill and you could hear a gumdrop drop. 

Within seconds the room was abuzz with excited whispering and exclamations of surprise and indignation.  “Toy shame on you,” his shocked and disapproving coworkers said in unison.

Angry and confused at Employee #1224’s revelation, the foreman sarcastically asked him what it was he’d rather be doing. Upon hearing the answer, the foreman went ballistic!

He abruptly cancelled Employee 1224’s scheduled work break, and after the other employees had filed out the boss gave him a choice: finish the job or face immediate termination.

In a moment of youthful impulsiveness, employee #1224 decided to chuck it all right then and there and go his own way.

During a dramatic soul-searching period where he befriended others that were having trouble finding their niche, Hermie, (formerly Employee #1224), and his pals experienced hair-raising adventures (about 15 minutes worth) where incredibly they solved the riddle of The Abominable Snowman and saved Christmas before returning home.

A year later after completing his dental self-studies, Hermie founded North Pole Dental World, LLC located just two blocks from Santa’s workshop.

“Business is always brisk what with all the hot cocoa, sugar cookies and candy canes served up here,” he said in a recent interview.  “It also helps to be the only dentist in the area.

“The next closest dentist is in Iqaluit in the Nunavut territory, and they don’t take insurance,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief.

When asked what advice he would give to those in search of their dream job, Hermie smiled wryly, shrugged his elfin shoulders and said, “I’m at my happiest when I’m down in the mouth. 

“You probably should ask someone in the toy department.”

A version of this blog post first appeared at Dental Insurance Store on Dec 1, 2014.

Thanks for reading Dean Riffs. Welcome to all those who love American liberty, free enterprise, and who believe God has blessed our country. For those who believe in open borders, safe spaces, and who tolerate everything but free speech and conservative ideals, move on – there’s nothing here for you to see. 


Copyright 2018, Dean A. George©



Minnesota Professor Calls God a Predator

Which came first – the chicken or the egghead professor?

A Minnesota State University professor has launched the latest salvo in the annual war on Christmas and the newest fusillade of the #MeToo movement by asserting that God “preyed” on Mary by impregnating her without her consent.

Suffice it to say if Associate Psychology and Sexual Studies professor Dr. Eric Sprankle had been present at the birth of Christ, he would not have been mistaken for one of the wise men.

On December 3 the sacrilegious professor tweeted, “The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays.”

Aside from his faulty premise about Mary’s lack of consent (Luke 1:38), why would “Spanky” think that the Creator of the world would need His creation’s permission to do anything?

When someone on Twitter pointed out that Mary gave her consent to the angel, the Minnesota “sexpert” doubled down on his blasphemy by tweeting:

“The biblical god regularly punished disobedience. The power difference (deity vs mortal) and the potential for violence for saying ‘no’ negates her ‘yes.’ To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst.” 

It’s bad enough that secularists try to remove Christmas observances from the public square and mock Christians for their beliefs, but with his latest social media pronouncement this sex-obsessed Satanist clown (he reportedly brags about a Pentagram on top of his Christmas tree) arrogantly insists on lecturing God about right or wrong.

Using the professor’s own logic, any professor who sleeps with his or her students and is responsible for their grades and advancement is guilty of an unethical abuse of power at best and is grossly predatory at worst.

But why go there in the conversation when you can haughtily use Christmas as an excuse to give God the middle finger and show the world how enlightened you are as a higher education naysayer.

I don’t have a PhD in psychology or sex therapy, but if it was up to me this Christmas-hating professor should do community service in a live nativity scene where he could do what he does best – play the braying donkey.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” 

Photo sources: Whatsnew2day.colm,,

Thanks for reading Dean Riffs. Welcome to those who love American liberty, free enterprise, and who believe God has blessed our country. For those who believe in open borders, safe spaces, and who think free speech is hate speech, move on – there’s nothing here for you to see.

Copyright 2018, Dean A. George©

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