Mary’s Magnificat

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It was back in 1847 when the pastor of a small church near Avignon, France, asked the local mayor, who was also an amateur poet, to write a poem for their upcoming Christmas mass.

  • He agreed. And, soon after, while on a horse-driven coach traveling down a bumpy road on route to Paris,
  • that mayor, Placide Cappeau began to write.
  • And, as he’s writing, utterly inspired by the Gospel of Luke, he could almost see himself there at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.


And so, by the time he arrived in Paris, his poem, Cantique de Noel, had been completed.

  • Moved by his own work, Cappeau decided that his poem should be set to music,
  • Which was done by Adolphe Adam.
  • The finished product was performed just three weeks later at a midnight mass on Christmas Eve in 1849.
  • And soon became one of the most beloved Christmas songs in France.


By 1855, the song made its way to America… and was called, in English, “O Holy Night.

  • It quickly became a favorite, especially in the Northern states during the Civil War.
  • But, it was on Christmas Eve, in 1906, that it made history by being the very first song ever to be broadcast over the airwaves.