Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Gruber., 1818

What is your favourite Christmas Carol?  Mine is Silent Night. I find it ironic that this incredibly well known carol which is reverently reflects peace, serenity and calmness was in fact, silent. The pragmatist in me asks – Was it really a silent night?

Let me share what 20 years of Nursing and being at my own children’s birth has taught me…. THERE IS NOTHING SILENT ABOUT CHILDBIRTH, as for Holiness (defined as living life in total devotion to someone Meriam-Webster (2022) and sung by Olivia Newton-John in Grease The Motion Picture (Farrar., 1978)) there was certainly a feeling of serenity, dedication and devotion whilst being hopelessly in love with the precious gift of my children…

Back to the Christmas Carol! A stable with animals, is far from the concept of silence and serenity as one can get, yet I imagine a sense of devotion like nothing else was experienced by Mary and Joseph as they stared at their new born child thinking ‘sleep in heavenly peace’. It is this devotion that causes an experience that impacts our core spirit and defines who we are as human beings. But, there is more to this story.

Let’s look at the story of how Silent Night was written.

It was Christmas Eve, 1818, when the now-famous carol was first performed as ‘Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht’. Mohr, the young priest, played the guitar and sang with the choir director who had written the melody. The backstory is that it was the night before Christmas, the church organ was broken and people were gathering for Christmas Eve Mass. Mohr went for a walk in a tiny Austrian village, he looked out over a very quiet, winter-laden town and was inspired by the peace and serenity despite being ravaged by the Napoleonic Wars

Benedict., 2021

Fast forward nearly 100 years, this Carol was famously reported in 1914 being sung by the German Soldiers in the World War 1 trenches, their counterparts, the British Expeditionary Force joined them resulting in ‘The Christmas Truce’ in ‘no-mans land’

Museums, n.d.

It is clear this carol represents finding freedom and peace in less than ideal circumstances.

Upon reflection, I have come to realise, this concept of peace is important in representing what true person centred care should look, sound and feel like.  Just as that first Christmas was far from silent, and in the chaos of conflict, war and turmoil, there is an opportunity to find peace.  The same could be said about the chaos created by living with a dementia, disability, or mental health problem. We seek to create a sense of contentment and peace for us all.  I would suggest this comes from being connected with our true feelings and emotions.  When we can connect with feelings and emotions, we can reach out and touch someone’s core spirit, that’s where we find peace, contentment, and a sense of wellbeing. Regardless of how you express yourself this Christmas, peace is an awakening that impacts our core spirit.  So, this Christmas, despite the chaos of life’s lived experience, our wish for you is the peace, devotion and contentment that comes from ‘Silent night, Holy night’.

Happy Christmas.

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Adetunji., J. (2019, December 19). The Conversation. Retrieved from The Conversation. Academic rigour, journalistic flair.:

Benedict., R. (2021, December 21). Catholic Say. Retrieved from,was%20ever%20good%20at%20and%20well%20known%20for.

Gruber., F. &. (1818). Silent Night Holy Night. Orbendorf, Salzburg, Austria.

Museums, I. W. (n.d.). The real story of the Christmas Truce. Retrieved from IWM:

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