Monday, December 24, 2012

Christ-Mass: The Vigil

“The Huron Carol” (aka “Jesous Ahatonhia” or “Jesus He Is Born”) is Canada's oldest Christmas song, written in 1643 by Saint Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary living amidst the Huron nation in what is now Canada. Written in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people, its melody is based on a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). This translation is by Father H Kierans, and is sung by Heather Dale.

'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 wondering hunters heard the hymn.

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

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender babe was found
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
En-wrapped 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 seed 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.


The Jesuit missionary was captured by the Iroquois in an inter-tribal war in 1649, and was awarded the crown of martyrdom by way of torture. He is included (along with Saint Isaac Jogues and six others) among the "North American Martyrs" in the Roman Calendar of Saints.
 

Labels: , , , , , , , ,