Being Lutherans, the idea of having a Christmas play which is completely repugnant to true religion, to them was not. The year was 1818 and the chubby and delinquent Franz Gruber (one of those guitar playing types) conveniently saved himself the trouble of having to play the organ (like I said, one of those guitar playing types who secretly longed to be in a boy band) by letting it go to pot. So when the players came to play their Christmas play (loosely based on Scripture, apparently) it was scheduled to be done in a private house–presumably because their vaudeville needed the accompaniment of a piano. The notoriously sentimental pastor at Oberndorf, one Josef Mohr, a seminary dropout, was apparently for the first time in his whole entire life presented with the basic facts of the incarnation of our Lord, thanks to the band of roving actors. Yes, he was present at the play. Afterward, he took to wandering on a hill overlooking the sill and silent dump that was Oberndorf. All the stars looked very holy to him that night and he even greeted a stray cat with warmth and candor.
Nothing was done to the cat; it was used to drunks and the state of mind in which Mohr found himself was not significantly different.
Speaking of drunks, here is where the story gets good. Old Steinbrun Schmaltz, a Calvinist and no Lutheran, had had a few too many, as sometimes happens. He was no country boy and life in the sticks had gotten to him as well as all the blather about the real meaning of Christmas. He roared into the still and silent night with intentions not altogether holy, a loaded gun under his arm. He was not sure what he was going to do, but he was sure something had to be done.
As it happened, Mohr was returning from the fields having finally worked himself up to showing somebody else his not entirely first rate poetry. Schmaltz espied him from afar and fell in behind, more or less. Since Mohr knew Gruber was relaxing, the organ being down for the season, he headed over there and they began plans on the whole boy band thing, only without a drummer. “I got these lyrics, you do the tune.” That’s when Schmaltz, our hero, staggered into Gruber’s overheated apartments and shot them both through the head, forever preventing the Christmas blight otherwise known as Silent Night from ever seeing day.
It was a great time to be a Calvinist, even though for his service to humanity Schmaltz was hanged before the new year even arrived.