There was a single lady named Anna Schoiberin who got pregnant and gave birth to a boy named Josef in the late 1700’s. The man who got her pregnant was a mercenary soldier. He took off and abandoned them leaving them with the shame. The town’s executioner agreed to be the boy’s godfather. That didn’t help their reputation. After a couple of years, she couldn’t afford to live and support them both, so she decided to give up her son. The local church decided to take him in because no one else would. They noticed he had a proclivity towards music and began to foster it.
When he grew up, he decided to go into ministry. After school, he was assigned a church. After being there a couple of years, he was assigned the task of introducing a new song to celebrate the Christmas season. He took a poem he had written to a friend who arranged it to be played on the church organ. However, when Christmas time came, the organ had fallen into disrepair. His friend quickly changed the arrangement to be played acoustically. That night, “Silent Night” was sung publicly for the first time. The church loved it! It has gone on to be the most popular Christmas carol being translated into over 300 languages and even briefly stopped World War I.
Colossians 3:12 says, “You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (GNT). There are people all around us who, like Josef, have been rejected and need kindness. They’re seeking refuge, love and healing for their brokenness. We as Christians can either compound their hurt or silence their pain through our kindness and compassion. I love that it was the Church who took Josef Mohr in, loved him and fostered his gifts. There’s no telling what your act of kindness will do in someone’s life. Because that church was clothed with all these traits listed, history was changed. Kindness matters.