The Story of the First Christmas Carol in North America and the Saint Who Wrote It

Saint Jean de Brebeuf was born in France in 1593 and became a Jesuit missionary who arrived in North America in 1625 on a mission to evangelize Native Americans.

Amazingly, he lived among the Huron people for over 15 years. In order to help the Huron understand Christmas, he wrote a verse in the language of the Huron and coupled it with a traditional French tune. This was the first Christmas Carol of North America and it has become known as "The Huron Carol."

Here it is, translated to English and performed quite beautifully:

Here's the lyrics in English and modernized:

Twas in the moon of wintertime When all the birds had fled,

That mighty Gitchi Manitou Sent angel choirs instead;

Before their light the stars grew dim, And wond'ring hunters heard the hymn:

Jesus, your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.

 

O, harken to the angels' word, Do not decline

To heed the message which you heard: The Child Divine,

As they proclaim, has come this morn Of Mary pure.

Let us adore.

Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.

 

Within a lodge of broken bark The tender Babe was found,

A ragged robe of rabbit skin Enwrapp'd His beauty 'round;

But as the hunter braves drew nigh,

The angel song rang loud and high: Jesus, your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.

 

The earliest moon of wintertime Is not so round and fair

As was the ring of glory on The helpless infant there.

The chiefs from far before Him knelt With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.

Jesus, your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.

 

O children of the forest free, O sons of Manitou,

The Holy Child of earth and heav'n Is born today for you.

Come kneel before the radiant boy;

Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.

Jesus, your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.

 

In 1648, the Iroquois attacked the Huron but Fr. Brebeuf bravely refused to flee. In 1649, he was captured and brutally tortured by the Iroquois before being burned at the stake. He was canonized in 1930 and is the patron saint of Canada.

 
 
 
 
 

Saint Jean de Brebeuf was born in France in 1593 and became a Jesuit missionary who arrived in North America in 1625 on a mission to evangelize Native Americans. Amazingly, he lived among the Huron people for over 15 years.

In order to help the Huron understand Christmas, he wrote a verse in the language of the Huron and coupled it with a traditional French tune. This was the first Christmas Carol of North America and it has become known as "The Huron Carol."

Here it is, translated to English and performed quite beautifully:

 

<iframe width="525" height="290" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tnxZ-YU4f0A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Here's the lyrics in English and modernized:

Twas in the moon of wintertime
 When all the birds had fled,
 That mighty Gitchi Manitou
 Sent angel choirs instead;
 Before their light the stars grew dim,
 And wond'ring hunters heard the hymn:
 Jesus, your King is born,
 Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O, harken to the angels' word,
 Do not decline
 To heed the message which you heard:
 The Child Divine,
 As they proclaim, has come this morn
 Of Mary pure. Let us adore.
 Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark
 The tender Babe was found,
 A ragged robe of rabbit skin
 Enwrapp'd His beauty 'round;
 But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
 The angel song rang loud and high:
 Jesus, your King is born,
 Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime
 Is not so round and fair
 As was the ring of glory on
 The helpless infant there.
 The chiefs from far before Him knelt
 With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
 Jesus, your King is born,
 Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
 O sons of Manitou,
 The Holy Child of earth and heav'n
 Is born today for you.
 Come kneel before the radiant boy;
 Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
 Jesus, your King is born,
 Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.


In 1648, the Iroquois attacked the Huron but Fr. Brebeuf bravely refused to flee. In 1649, he was captured and brutally tortured by the Iroquois before being burned at the stake. He was canonized in 1930 and is the patron saint of Canada.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy