Wednesday, January 23, 2008

'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime

Last night the county college/community chorus started up practice again for the spring semester concerts, which will feature parts 2 and 3 of Handel's Messiah. So off my friend Carol and I went in the dark, cold drizzle, vaguely fearing that we could encounter black ice on the roadways.

Now, you've never spent time with Carol and me, so you don't know how we love to talk. We can, and do, laugh about the silliest things. I have nearly driven off the road many times when convulsed by laughter at Carol's humor. Last night, however, I kept my mind firmly on the road. Until ...

Carol pointed out the window, and we saw the sky had begun to clear, revealing tattered shreds of cloud backlit by the most gorgeous winter moon I have ever seen. I stared at it as long as I dared.

When I got home later, it was a still and perfect night, crisp and cold, with no wind. And the moon was still up, hovering brilliantly above. I was reminded of that Huron carol, 'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime, which goes like this:

’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
Enwrapped 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.

I let the dogs out on the front lawn, and we stayed about 5 minutes in the cold. On that still, silent night, I could not stand to be in the house. I'll look again tonight for the brilliant winter moon.


Anonymous said...

Wow - that's beautiful. I've never seen/heard of that carol before.

-the lazy, still on break seminarian.

Gabrielle said...

The Huron Carol is my favourite Christmas carol, Judith!