Where it is sometimes winter, but always Christmas

Last year I wrote of an experience that I will always remember during this season. It involves a French Christmas hymn, Cantique de Noël. The English rendition, Oh, Holy Night, is beautiful, but the French is inextricably tied to my sacred celebration.

It was first performed at a time when our people faced the winter on the plains in 1847. One hundred and fifty years later, I faced a crowd of French people and sang it for the first time.

The literal translation:

A Canticle for Christmas
Midnight!
Christians, this is the solemn hour where the man-God descends unto us,
to erase the original stain and to bring the wrath of his Father to an end:
The world shudders with hope on this night, which gives it a Savior.
People, to your knees and await your deliverance.
Noël! Noël! Behold the Redeemer!
Noël! Noël! Behold the Redeemer!

The Redeemer broke all bonds, the Earth is free and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was nothing but a slave,
love linking that which was shackled in iron,
Who will tell him of our gratitude?
It is for us that he is born; that he suffers and dies:
People, stand up. Sing your deliverance.
Noël! Noël! Sing the Redeemer!
Noël! Noël! Sing the Redeemer!

God bless us all, my friends. May we enjoy peace and goodwill. May we do God’s work and bless those in need.

Comments

  1. Beautiful poetry!

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    Our Stake gave a musical performance (two choirs, various individuals) earlier this month. One brother, an RM from France, sang this song in the original French, and took the time beforehand to give us the background to it. To me having that little bit of context makes a tremendous difference in my capacity to appreciate a song. He did a beautiful job with it.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    Can’t beat a title like that. J., you soft-heart, thanks.

  4. Merci, mon frere.

  5. Beautiful. Thank you.

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