ONE GOOD THING TO COME OUT OF FRANCE
I am not a fan of the French. Their blatant anti-Americanism appalls me. Having said that, my wife introduced me to a charming Christmas carol of French origin. There are so many wonderful carols, ranging from the spiritual, like Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing, to the secularly inclined, Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls, and to the classical, I Saw Three Ships and Wassail.
Though my singing voice runs to nails on the chalk board timber, I nonetheless enjoy a good carol. Though rare, I especially appreciate coming across a hitherto unknown carol (unknown to me, that is). Unfortunately there aren't many of those. The best ones are already out there. Sure, new carols crop up periodically, but call me a dyed in the wool traditionalist, I can do without Baby, It's Cold Out, All I Want for Christmas Is You, and assorted ilk. So color me charmed when Grace sang Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant (He Is Born the Divine Infant). You can find English language versions, but the French is so much more endearing, even for a non-French speaking person. It is a 19th century folk tune, commemorating the 4,000-year wait for the Saviour and His humble beginnings. The simple tune was part of what inspired me in writing this year's holiday short story, Christmas Lights, which hopefully did not do violence to the carol. Well, what the French never know won't hurt them.
There are some really horrific versions of the song. Two of my favorites however (aside from Grace's), can be found on YouTube (and elsewhere). They are John Rutter's Carols from Clare, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rqj8ZgVVDI) and one featuring three French priests leading the singing as the town's children assemble a living Nativity display, check out Les Pretres-Il est ne le divin enfant (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4cyWxevyAY)
I hope you enjoy...and have an "Ah, that was nice" moment after listening...as well as after reading Christmas Lights. If you read the news and follow the sadness and anger all over social media lately, you know we need an "Ah, that was nice" moment.