People may know the songs, but not necessarily the story behind the holiday jingles playing on the radio. That’s why Maryloyola Yettke, a chaplain at California Institution for Women, hosted a short video explaining the history and meaning behind three famous Christmas carols.
John Francis Wade, who fled England during a period of heavy anti-Catholicism in the 1700s, wrote one of the standard Christmas carols, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” she explained. The hymn reached beyond Catholic churches because of its appeal to all those of Christian faith.
“Joy to the World” was written by Isaac Watts, published in 1719.
“The song is actually a paraphrase of the 98th Psalm and although it was never meant to be limited to the Christmas season, it has in fact become one of the most popular Christmas carols,” the chaplain explained.
The lyrics to “Silent Night” were written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr, an Austrian priest, while the music was written by Franz Gruber two years later.
“The manuscript for the original arrangement for this song is still displayed at a museum in Salzburg,” Yettke said.
The chaplain ended the video with warm holiday wishes to those serving sentences in the state’s institutions.
“I wish you all a holy and safe advent and Christmas season. Thank you for all your efforts in keeping yourself safe (as well as) the people around you,” she said.
Story by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Video by Jonathan Mumm, TV Specialist