Oboe and French

There are some carols you identify with because of special memories or people. I identify with He is Born,* because I can sing it in French (Il est né) and used to play the oboe in high school band.

He is born, the holy Child; play the oboe and bagpipes merrily! He is born, the holy Child; Sing we all of the Savior mild.

or in French…

Il est ne, le divin Enfant, Jouez, hautbois, resonnez, musettes; Il est ne, le divin Enfant;
Chantons tous son avenement!

Not only is the song a celebration of the birth of Christ, but a reminder that his was a birth foretold. He is the fulfillment of not just one prophecy of ages past, but of several, and this adds to his uniqueness in human history.

Listen to what the Gospel of Luke shares about one who understood these things:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed…”*

Simeon knew all would be well, and he could die in peace, knowing that he had seen the arrival of the source of salvation for all mankind. As He is Born exclaims, Christ is the “gracious gift to humankind.”

That is reason to sing in any language!

Merry Christmas

*WORDS: Traditional French Carol, 19th Century. MUSIC: French Carol, 18th Century; arr. Mark Blankenship, 1943-

*Luke 2:25-35 (NIV).


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