Cantique de Noël

Cantique de Noël was written in 1847, by Placide Cappeau. An atheist poet, Cappeau was surprised when a Catholic priest asked him to pen something for Christmas mass. Despite not believing in Jesus, Cappeau delivered in a big way. This 6-minute video explains the story behind the song. The video is also posted at the bottom of this post.

Cantique de Noël’s English equivalent is the tremendous hymn “O Holy Night.” Cappeau’s poem is a bit different but, in my opinion, it’s a whole lot better. Here’s the literal English translation.

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,
When God as man descended unto us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Saviour.

People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!

May the ardent light of our Faith
Guide us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Guided the Oriental kings there.
The King of Kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness,

It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!

The Redeemer has broken every bond:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.

People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!