Dr. Henry Van Dyke enforces the lesson that God is in all the common tasks of life, after this fashion:

There was a man who wanted to find Christ, and he imagined he must leave his  work. He was a carpenter, builder, perhaps, or a stone-mason. He imagined he could only be a Christian by going to the desert and living a hermit's life. He never found Christ there. He then thought he must never go outside the cloisters of the church, or walls of the temple. He did not find Christ there. There was something defective about that man's life. He was heedless of his children and his fellow men. He was seeking Christ for himself and not for others. The voice of the Savior came:

"You did not need to go to the desert to find me; lift the stone and thou shalt find me. Do your regular work as a stone-mason and as you do your work you shall find me in your daily labor. Cleave the wood and there am I. As you lift the timbers, sing out the song of praise." Christ is with you in your daily task.


Black and blue version of "Silent Night."
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  Christmas Clip Art.
      "Silent Night" (German: "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht") is a popular Christmas carol. The original lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" were written in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria, by the priest Father Joseph Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. In 1859, John Freeman Young (second Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Florida) published the English translation that is most frequently sung today. The version of the melody that is generally sung today differs slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber's original, which was a sprightly, dance-like tune in 6/8 time, as opposed to the slow, meditative lullaby version generally sung today. Today, the lyrics and melody are in the public domain.
      The carol was first performed in the Nikolaus-Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Oberndorf, Austria, on December 24, 1818. Mohr had composed the words two years earlier, in 1816, but on Christmas Eve brought them to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service.
      In his written account regarding the composition of the carols, Gruber gives no mention of the specific inspiration for creating the song. According to the song's history provided by Austria's Silent Night Society, one supposition is that the church organ was no longer working so that Mohr and Gruber therefore created a song for accompaniment by guitar. Silent Night historian Renate Ebeling-Winkler Berenguer says that the first mention of a broken organ was in a book published in the United States, The Story of Silent Night (1965) by John Travers Moore.
Black and blue version of the "Holy Night."
      Some believe that Mohr simply wanted a new Christmas carol that he could play on his guitar. The Silent Night Society says that there are "many romantic stories and legends" that add their own anecdotal details to the known facts.
      The Nikolaus-Kirche was demolished in the early 1900s as a result of flood damage and because the town's center was moved up the river to a safer location, with a new church being built in the new town, close to the new bridge. A tiny chapel, called the "Stille-Nacht-Ged√§chtniskapelle" (Silent Night Memorial Chapel), was built in the place of the demolished church and a nearby house was converted into a museum, attracting tourists from all over the world, not only but primarily in December.
      The original manuscript has been lost. However a manuscript was discovered in 1995 in Mohr's handwriting and dated by researchers at ca. 1820. It shows that Mohr wrote the words in 1816 when he was assigned to a pilgrim church in Mariapfarr, Austria, and shows that the music was composed by Gruber in 1818. This is the earliest manuscript that exists and the only one in Mohr's handwriting. Gruber's composition was influenced by the musical tradition of his rural domicile. The melody of "Silent Night" bears resemblance to aspects of Austrian folk music and yodelling.
      Another popular story claims that the carol, once performed, was promptly forgotten until an organ repairman found the manuscript in 1825 and revived it. However, Gruber published various arrangements of it throughout his lifetime and we now have the Mohr arrangement (ca. 1820) that is kept at the Museum Carolino Augusteum in Salzburg.
The carol has been translated into over 44 languages. It is sometimes sung without musical accompaniment.
      The song was sung simultaneously in French, English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914, as it was one of the few carols that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew.
      The song has been recorded by over 300 artists, particularly successful in hit versions by Enya (sung in Irish), Andrea Bocelli (sung in Italian), Stevie Nicks, Bing Crosby, Mahalia Jackson, an acoustic version by American R 'n' B group Boyz II Men, and an instrumental version by Mannheim Steamroller. The Mannheim Steamroller backs narratives known as "The God Song" or "God's Silent Night" which have been distributed to radio stations across the USA. Simon & Garfunkel recorded an ironic version of the song in which a depressing radio news report is overheard in the background. There have also been choral recordings by the King's College Choir and the Vienna Boys' Choir. Other recordings include Linda Ronstadt from A Merry Little Christmas (2000); Christina Aguilera from My Kind of Christmas (2000), Elvis Presley from Elvis' Christmas Album (1957); and Tori Amos from Midwinter Graces (2009).
      In 1943, the Austrian exile Hertha Pauli wrote the book Silent Night. A Story of a Song, in which she explained to American children the origin of the song. The book was illustrated by Fritz Kredel.
      Westlife performed the song live in 2001. In 2006, Brad Paisley recorded the song for Brad Paisley Christmas. In 2007, Damien Leith included a recording on a limited special Christmas edition of Where We Land. In 2010 Annie Lennox included this track on her new album A Christmas Cornucopia. (Wikipedia.com)

Green and white version of "Silent Night."
Green and white version of "Holy Night."

Black and white version of "Silent Night."
Black and white version of "Holy Night."
Red and white version of "Silent Night."

Red and white version of "Holy Night."

The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the world began in one small city but now has spread throughout the entire world to many different peoples and cultures. The cross has come to mean so much for so many! 

The gallery has new Palm Sunday clip art available at "An Easter Rose." Why not take a peek and see just what our staff has been creating this season? palms and scripture and Hosanna!