At the heart of symbolism

Silent night, Holy night

(Detailed page)


First verse

  • Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
  • Alles schläft; einsam wacht
  • Nur das traute heilige Paar.
  • Holder Knab im lockigten Haar,
  • Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
  • Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
  • Silent night! Holy night!
  • All are sleeping, alone and awake
  • Only the intimate holy pair,
  • Lovely boy with curly hair,
  • Sleep in heavenly peace!
  • Sleep in heavenly peace!

Jesus, God's imageAll are sleeping by this silent night. Only Joseph and Mary are awakened. Withdrawn from the world, they are the only ones who have become aware of the advent. These two creatures of God are deeply united around the new born child, image of God in the mirror of his parents.

The child benefits from all divine graces. His curls evoke the moon crescent of this silent night. However, the moon light only reflects the true light, the divine Light symbolized by sun light. The night represents the gestation period preceding the coming of the being in broad daylight, to full light.

The child was born at mid-night, the hour marking the end of the preceding day and the beginning of the following. This moment symbolizes the present without before or after. Removed from the preoccupations of the world, he sleeps in celestial peace, in the world of the Eternal present.

Second verse

  • Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
  • Gottes Sohn! O wie lacht
  • Lieb aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
  • Da schälgt uns die rettende Stund
  • Jesus in deiner Geburt!
  • Jesus in deiner Geburt!
  • Silent night! Holy night!
  • Son of God, O how he laughs
  • Love from your divine mouth,
  • Then it hits us, the hour of salvation.
  • Jesus at your birth!
  • Jesus at your birth!

The child, son of God, laughs one's head off 1! Soon, the hour of salvation will ring. A wave of immense joy will stream over the world. A wave of universal Love coming out of the divine mouth is meant for all beings of the Earth. The reception of this Love within every creature will be as an endless echo of Jesus' birth.

Third verse

  • Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
  • Die der Welt Heil gebracht,
  • Aus des Himmels goldenen Höhn
  • Uns der Gnaden Fülle läßt seh´n
  • Jesum in Menschengestalt,
  • Jesum in Menschengestalt.
  • Silent night! Holy night!
  • Which brought salvation to the world,
  • From Heaven's golden heights,
  • Mercy's abundance was made visible to us:
  • Jesus in human form,
  • Jesus in human form.

The holy night will bring salvation to the entire world. All beings will be able to recover the state of eternal bliss. The divine grace will pour in abundance on Earth. It will be made visible to men's eyes, thanks to the human form taken by Jesus.

Indeed, Jesus combines both divine and human natures within himself. The divine nature, coming under the celestial world, is often represented by a triangle pointing upwards (Δ) and the human one, proper to the terrestrial world, by a triangle pointing downwards (∇)The simple Chrisme within the star of David. The two triangles are arranged so that their respective centres coincide in order to make it obvious that both natures are one only. Jesus, son or rather child of God, is One. He is the “Universal Man”. The image symbolizes (David's) star that will guide the Wise Men.

Let's note that if we join the opposed vertexes of the star two to two, we obtain a new image called simple Chrisme in which the first Christians saw the two Greek initial I and X of "Iesous Christos" (For more details, see the cross).

Fourth verse

  • Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
  • Wo sich heut alle Macht
  • Väterlicher Liebe ergoß
  • Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß
  • Jesus die Völker der Welt,
  • Jesus die Völker der Welt.
  • Silent night! Holy night!
  • Where on this day all power
  • of fatherly love poured forth
  • And like a brother lovingly embraced
  • Jesus the peoples of the world,
  • Jesus the peoples of the world.

On this salvation day, the power of divine Love is offered to all peoples of the Earth. Nevertheless, the power of Love can only spread if the beings are receptive to this Love and have the capacity to absorb it. Love offered and remaining without response is like the wish to breastfeeding a lifeless child. Be opened to divine Love opens the passage from the visible human nature to the invisible divine nature, the ascending way from Earth towards Heaven. A return way that completes the descending way from Heaven towards Earth, a way we all used on our coming into the world.

The sheet anchor offered by God to beings is, before all, a timeliness to seize. It belongs to them only to shake, or not, the held out hand. The future is and remains in people's hands.

Fifth verse

  • Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
  • Lange schon uns bedacht,
  • Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit,
  • In der Väter urgrauer Zeit
  • Aller Welt Schonung verhieß,
  • Aller Welt Schonung verhieß.
  • Silent night! Holy night!
  • Already long ago planned for us,
  • When the Lord frees from wrath,
  • Since the beginning of ancient times
  • A salvation promised for the whole world,
  • A salvation promised for the whole world.

This silent night has been planned long time before being manifested. It appears when the Lord frees men from wrath. The biblical texts are crammed with passages on men's anger. Some of them, as the first epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians 5:9, are eloquent on this subject: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."

Anger is blind; it lets you react rather than respond. The angry being retreats within himself instead of opening his arms. He is not receptive to love offered to him. God cannot bestow his graces to the angry being. Only the peaceful being can receive them.

Sixth verse

  • Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
  • Hirten erst kundgemacht
  • Durch der Engel Alleluja,
  • Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
  • Jesus der Retter ist da!
  • Jesus der Retter ist da!
  • Silent night! Holy night!
  • To shepherds it was first made known
  • By the angel, Alleluia,
  • Sounding forth loudly far and near:
  • Jesus the Saviour is here!
  • Jesus the Saviour is here!

The shepherds are the first to be warned. The shepherd watches the flock and leads it from pasture to pasture to find its food. He is the being that presides over the fates of the flock. Then, it is not astonishing to consider Christ as the shepherd that takes all peoples of the Earth towards more celestial pastures.

The advent is naturally announced by the angel (from the Greek "aggelos" and Latin “angelus”, which means messenger). The angels are used as intermediaries between God and men.

The news spreads all over: Jesus, the Saviour, is here! Jesus means salvation ("JeShoua") in Hebrew.

Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht - Silent night, Holy night

The King's Singers sing Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

The Kings College (Cambridge) sing Silent night, Holy night


  • René Guénon:
  • “Perspectives on Initiation”. Sophia Perennis Publisher 2004;
  • In particular chapter 47 entitled “Verbum, Lux and Vita”.
  • Franz Xaver Gruber:
  • Music sheet, Autograph VII around 1860.

1 back We find again the same image of a laughter passing over the earth in the poem of Rabindranath Tagore entitled “Light”.