Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Singing of Silent Night in 1818

Silent Night.

This Top Ten list of what not to do continues with a historical backdrop. On December 24th, 1818 the Christmas carol “Silent Night” composed by Franz Xaver Gruber was first sung at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria. If you time travel there here is a list that might keep you from making a mistake and prepare you for a Merry Christmas.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Singing of Silent Night in 1818 by John W. Howell © 2018

10 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not sing off-key. If you do, at best the crowd will cover you up. At worst, the choir director will call a couple of big guys and have you removed. (We know you love to sing, Gerrald. You just have to sing more quietly.)

9  If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not try to avoid making a contribution in the collection plate being passed by Tiny the WWF champ. If you do, at best Tiny won’t notice. At worst, Tiny who has just promised 10% of his earnings to the church, will take offense. (Being held upside down and shaken until the coins fall is not the best thing, Gerritt. Sure beats a windmill body slam though.)

8 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not wear your “Happy Birthday JC,” Christmas sweater. If you do, at best most will not understand the message. At worst, a six foot seven Knight of the Templer will take it upon himself to eliminate your sweater ( I think I would offer to take the garment off and do some kind of penance, Giacomo. Otherwise, he is going to keep applying pressure to your head.)

7 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not arrive late for the service. If you do, at best there will be a seat in the back pew. At worst, you will be directed to the front bench. (While you are taking that long walk, Gibson the director is holding his baton in mid-air waiting for you to reach your seat. Good thing you wore a red scarf. Your face matches it correctly.)

6 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not think you know the words and avoid using the hymnal. If you do, at best you’ll only be noticed by a few. At worst, the entire congregation will be nudging each other and pointing as you get most wrong. ( You can almost feel the mocking, can’t you, Gille? Wait until you turn around to leave.)

5 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not fall asleep during the sermon. If you so, at best only the priest will know. At worst, your snoring is the subject of more than a few giggles. (Sadly, the priest decides to use you as an example of the sinning world. Oh, and don’t compliment the priest on his sermon on the way out, Gimle)

4 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not finish that 32-ounce tankard before you arrive at the service. If you do, at best the service will be short. At worst, the service turns into the highest mass with the most ritual possible. (After the first hour you are now beginning to openly sweat, Girisha. I would pray harder for mercy.)

3 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not wear your Long Live France t-shirt. If you do, at best most will not remember the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815. At worst, most of the congregation are veterans of the war. (It looks like you have hit a sore point, Guiliano. I think you might want to exit through the side door.)

2 If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not go a-wassailing for too many wassails before the service. If you do, at best the cold night air will straighten you out. At worst, you’ll accidentally do a header into the pew in front of you. (I know you just meant to bow your head, Gleipnif. Try telling that to the spinster on whom you are laying.)

1  If you are at the first singing of Silent Night, do not try to sneak out without shaking the priest’s hand. If you do, at best the side door will be unlocked. At worse, you choose the wrong door and realize you are now in the priest’s vestment room. (Funny how that door locked behind you, Godfrey. You will now have the pleasure of explaining precisely what you are doing here once the priest is finished shaking hands.)

 

49 comments

  1. Thanks for the laugh, John. Happy Holidays to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marc. Happy Holidays as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    I think I’ve done a couple of these:) I must admit I do like to sing this. Merry Christmas.

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    1. Thank you, Denise.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It might be worse and the six foot seven Knight of the Templer in #8 could be a relative of Tiny and they’ll gang up on you. The sweater will be destroyed as the money falls from your pockets. Good list, John. I hope you have a joyous Christmas Eve with family. 🙂 — Suzanne

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne. I hope you have a joyous Christmas as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great list, John. My grandfather didn’t go to church often but when he did, he sang – loud and off-key. He was a big fan of ‘wrasslin’ do it would have been appropriate for Tiny to put him in a quiet mood.

    I hope you make it back to our time in time to enjoy Christmas.

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    1. I’m back. Thank you, Dan

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Merry Christmas, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merry Christmas, Craig.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing how Tiny transcends all time! That’s a power generally reserved for very few.

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  7. For some reason, I thought the song was older. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Old enough for me. Thanks, Charles.

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  8. I needed my top ten fix this morning…thanks for the laughs, John. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jill. Merry Christmas to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ll be showing #6 to hubby.

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    1. Ha ha ha. I do the same thing.

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  10. Lol. I guess one would have to be sure to brush up on your German as well. Singing it in English at the top of your lungs may cause a few heads to turn and possibly yours to roll. Have a wonderful Christmas, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent addition, Darlene.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great list, John. One of my favourites, I have to say!
    I wish for you and your whole lot a most Merry Christmas!
    And I share with you my ultimate favourite version of this timeless (though not really that old) classic by Mahalia Jackson. For me, Christmas is not complete until I’ve heard this!

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  12. Take 3 – and if the other comments come through, then, I beg of you, do delete them (or is it me who never realised that you moderate your comments? Or maybe you don’t accept links to music?)
    I’m ready to go wassailing after these attempts but shall instead tell you that I loved this list the best, so far!
    Merry Christmas to you and your whole brood!
    And, for me, the best version of silent night is the one done by Mahalia Jackson (I won’t insert link, just in case)
    Lotsa love,
    Dale

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    1. Thank you, Dale. Sorry I missed this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now that all is calm, all is bright… we can move on ’round yon problem 😉

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  13. Boss,

    Yes indeed. The moral of the story is . . . wait until after Mass to partake of said 32 ounce tankard. It’s much tastier that way, and besides . . you can go back for seconds when the well runs dry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are the font of wisdom, Marc. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You flatter, kind sir.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Very serious topic, dear John! Indeed, don’t sing Jingle Bells while others are singing Silent Night. Merry Christmas & may this night be indeed peaceful and bright!

    Snowy Christmas Greetings,
    Maria

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Maria. Merry Christmas

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I think #7 might be my favorite. “On time” doesn’t mean two minutes until the start of services. Of course, here, folks have a penchant for “reserving” their pews with coats (it’s the only place I’ve ever seen that happen, and it irks me every time!). Merry Christmas to all of you!

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    1. I would collect the coats and give them to the sisters of Charity. Merry Christmas, Debbie.

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  16. Merry Christmas, John!

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    1. Merry Christmas, Marie.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. And whatever else you do, pass on the opportunity to let your fussy, colicky two-month old come to his first Christmas service. At best, you’ll have to leave halfway through the singing of “Silent Night.” At worst, you’ll have been evicted long before the singing starts. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its been so long I have forgotten about the child/church battle. Thanks, Linda.

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  18. This was hilarious, John!

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    1. Thank you, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John!

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  19. Thanks for the smiles, John.

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    1. Thank you, Ronnie.

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  20. A little late … but Merry Christmas.

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    1. You are never late. Just delayed. Merry Christmas, Andrew.

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