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Christmas: Silent Night



     I bemoaned the commercialization of Christmas, and the virtual disappearance of mass singing of "The Messiah". Nor did I hear "Silent Night" much this year. The December issue of Austrian Information is devoted largely to the history of the song, described as a national treasure. It reports that an organization was formed to protect it from commercialism. Hence the silence of the hymn this year! Nevertheless at many places near Salzburg associated with it "there is a year-round tourist business" (which is not commercialism).
     Marta Weeks is an Episcopalian minister in Florida, so she will be pleased to know that the English translation was written by John Freeman, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. Were he and the song remembered this Christmas in Florida? If not, shame on Florida!

Ronald Hilton - 1/10/00


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