This story is a story from inside the true story of the song “O Holy Night”. As one who is heavily into Amateur Radio, I caught the importance of this as I read the history of a song I truly love and can sing anytime, any place. This story inside a bigger story should be of interest not only to Christians who love this song, but to Amateur and Professional Radio Operators around the world who love the early history of radio communications.
From the story of “O Holy Night”:
“Adams had been dead for many years and Cappeau and Dwight were old men when on Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden–a 33-year-old university professor and former chief chemist for Thomas Edison–did something long thought impossible. Using a new type of generator, Fessenden spoke into a microphone and, for the first time in history, a man’s voice was broadcast over the airwaves: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed,” he began in a clear, strong voice, hoping he was reaching across the distances he supposed he would.
Shocked radio operators on ships and astonished wireless owners at newspapers sat slack-jawed as their normal, coded impulses, heard over tiny speakers, were interrupted by a professor reading from the gospel of Luke. To the few who caught this broadcast, it must have seemed like a miracle–hearing a voice somehow transmitted to those far away. Some might have believed they were hearing the voice of an angel.
Fessenden was probably unaware of the sensation he was causing on ships and in offices; he couldn’t have known that men and women were rushing to their wireless units to catch this Christmas Eve miracle. After finishing his recitation of the birth of Christ, Fessenden picked up his violin and played “O Holy Night,” the first song ever sent through the air via radio waves. When the carol ended, so did the broadcast–but not before music had found a new medium that would take it around the world.”
As an Amateur Radio Operator and a Christian, I find it incredibly interesting and appropriate that a scripture reading and a song about the birth of the Savior was the first voice transmission ever made over the airwaves in the history of mankind.