WATCH: 'SNL' Pays Tribute to School Shooting Victims

The Manhattan Children's Chorus opened up Saturday's episode of SNL with a moving rendition of "Silent Night," in honor of the victims in Connecticut

Saturday Night Live opened its Christmas special without any laughs -- and for good reason. In reaction to the horrific Connecticut school shooting that has dominated the news cycle, the folks at SNL offered viewers a moment of quiet reprieve, inviting the Manhattan Children's Chorus to sing two verses of "Silent Night" in lieu of the usual opening sketch. No other words were spoken (except "Live, from New York, it's Saturday night!"), but the meaning was clear. Watch the moving performance below: 

We'd like to applaud the SNL producers for doing something very difficult: acknowledging the tragedy without exploiting it or upsetting viewers. And on a comedy show, no less. We're reminded of the way Saturday Night Live opened after Sept. 11th: Paul Simon sharing the stage with New York City rescue workers as he sang "The Boxer." Like Saturday's opening, that one was simple and elegant, giving the audience permission to feel their own feelings before the jokes started coming. SNL producer Lorne Michaels has always enjoyed pushing the boundaries of taste, but when times get tough, he's all class.

The rest of the Christmas show was funny business as usual, featuring host Martin Short, musical guest Paul McCartney, and surprise appearances by Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon and Kristin Wiig. Watch more episode highlights below!

Saturday Night Live returns on Jan. 19 with its first guest of 2013, Jennifer Lawrence.

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