Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Find the Hidden Symbolic “Easter Eggs” in the “Silent Night” Music Video

For the 2018 Christmas season, The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square released a touching video for Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of “Silent Night.”

The video stars actor Kevin Sorbo as Officer Shepherd, a policeman who is moved to reconcile with his daughter after helping a young couple deliver a child. Sorbo is best known for his TV roles as Hercules in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and as Captain Dylan Hunt in Andromeda, and he recently starred in the film God’s Not Dead.

The History of Easter Eggs

Easter eggs in a Christmas video? It’s a valid question, but those who have watched “Silent Night” may have noticed a few elements that stood out as symbolic and may wonder if there is a connection. The term “Easter egg” refers to an intentional hidden message, image, or inside joke that is usually placed in movies, video games, or computer programs. The term was coined the early 1980s, when the developer of the Atari video game Adventure, Warren Robinett, included the phrase “Created by Warren Robinett” in a secret chamber in the game. At the time, games were credited to the publisher and not the developer.

In less than a year, Adam Clayton, a 15-year-old boy from Salt Lake City, Utah, reported the secret chamber to Atari. Although many at the Atari company weren’t too happy, Steve Wright, a manager of the video game department, loved it. Wright “coined the term ‘Easter egg’ as a means to describe the delight of finding secret content by comparing it to an Easter egg hunt.”

Since then, developers are now given dedicated credit for their contribution, but the “Easter egg” lives on in video games, movies, television, and so on.

Easter Eggs in “Silent Night”

  • Officer Shepherd—Kevin Sorbo’s character is a policeman named Officer Shepherd. In John 10:11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” In Luke 2, when an angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds they say, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us (Luke 2:15).
  • Schaefer Is German for Shepherd (see video 1:22)—When we learn of Shepherd’s name, he hears a call on his radio and says he has to cover for Schaefer. The word Schaefer means “shepherd” in German. German Shepherd :-)
  • The Blue Car—In the beginning, the boy is seen holding a small blue car at the gravesite (see video 0:39). At the end, when Officer Shepherd knocks at his daughter’s door, he gives his grandson a brand new blue race car (see video 6:48).
  • Police Car (see video 2:02)—When Officer Shepherd’s police car is shown, it says Bethlehem Police.
  • The Auto Shop Workers’ Names  are Angel, Celeste, and Gabriel. 
  • No Room at the Instacare (see video 2:43)—When the pregnant couple arrives at the Instacare, it is closed, symbolizing the Christmas story scripture where there was “no room for them at the inn” (Luke 2:7). The couple’s last name in the video script was Carpenter (scripture evidence points to Jesus being employed as a carpenter). In the video, the motorcycle acts as the modern-day equivalent to a donkey.
  • Three Wise Men (see video 3:36)—When Celeste runs into the East Winds Chinatown Restaurant to get some water, she find three “wise” men from the East, who come bearing gifts (three pots of water).
  • Image of Creche (Nativity) (see video 6:12)—One of the final scenes of the video is of the group forming a creche in the garage, consisting of people from a diverse mix of ethnicities, backgrounds, and beliefs who have put aside prejudices and come together for a common cause. It is our hope that all who watch this video will soften their hearts a little and be more respectful to people with opinions, beliefs, and cultures different than their own.
  • Officer Shepherd’s Backstory—In the beginning, Officer Shepherd crosses paths with his estranged daughter and her family at the gravesite of his late wife. He is invited to the family’s home by his daughter Millie’s husband, to her dismay. Later in the video (see video 5:28), Shepherd flashes back to how he arrived late to the birth of his own daughter, but remembers the joy he once felt at being a new father. At the conclusion of the video, he reunites with his daughter and reconciles their relationship.
  • Familiar Faces—In the church scene, a gospel choir (heavenly hosts) are singing “Alleluia.” You may recognize some of them.
  • Yohosh Bonner of the musical Bonner family appears as a member of the gospel choir. Check out his YouTube page.
  • Singer/songwriter and producer Shawn Barrowes appears as the gospel choir pianist. Check out his YouTube page.