According to legend, the carol “Silent Night” came about because, on Christmas Eve, 1818, the curate of the church in Oberndorf, near Salzburg, Austria discovered that some mice had chewed through the inner workings of the church organ, and knew there would be no special music for Christmas unless he could come up with something designed for another instrument. Rising to the task, Joseph Mohr quickly wrote some lyrics and got his friend, Franz Gruber, to write some guitar music for them, thus saving the midnight mass.
In reality, Mohr wrote “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” as a poem two years earlier, and chose to have Gruber put it to music for the Christmas service at St. Nicholas church. (Although asking him to do so on Christmas Eve was cutting it a bit fine. Obviously Franz worked well under pressure.) Having since been translated into over two hundred languages, “Silent Night” remains a Christmas staple, and was sung by soldiers on both sides of the conflict during the famous Christmas Truce of WW I.
For a musical rendition, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6v0Xr6ewUU