You would think that some of the exploits of the past years would top my list. Getting Married, jumping off of a cliff on skis into a ravine in Switzerland, or even swimming toward a waterfall in Cameroon to save my camera (that little misadventure didn’t make the blog at the time, because my mom didn’t want to know about such things, but just ask Teresa about it sometime).
December 24th, I was driving back with Teresa to South Boston for the Christmas Eve service. This has always been one of my favorite services to run the sound and projector, because we have a Christmas hymn request section. People call out a hymn number, and if all goes well, I’ve found it in the list and the words are on the screen in the intervening seconds.
A few days earlier, I’d had a conversation with my mom about the Christmas Eve service to this effect:
Mom: “Daniele’s going to sing Silent Night in Italian, and someone might sing it in German. Would you be interested in singing it in French?”
Me: “Je n’aimerais pas le faire.” (I don’t really want to do that.)
Since that time, for some reason, I’d repented and changed my mind. We arrived in town about an hour before the service, and I ran inside to get dressed in some nicer clothes before running off to the church. Soon I was standing in the choir room with our choir director and we were doing our single practice of the single verse.
Let me explain some things here…
- I like talking in front of people, that’s a lot of my job. Nevertheless, the last time I sang in front of a large group was Chorus in elementary school, and even then it was never a solo.
- I’ve been blessed with a strong voice inherited from my father, but it is in no way trained. Sometimes I growl like Kenny Rodgers, and sometimes I sing awkwardly high, but I usually can’t find that elusive middle range where most songs seem to be written.
- Oh yeah, I was going to be singing the song in my second language. While it is a beautiful language to speak, there’s a reason why most good French music is spoken-word poetry instead of full singing…you can’t rhyme and the rhythm gets off when you don’t pronounce the last half of each word.
During my practice session, my voice decided to go low and it turned out OK as I sang as a bass, as long as I’d have a microphone.
Jump to the end of the service…after the hymn-sing.
Lights go out and candles are being lit as the flame passes around the room. The intro begins, and Daniele sings a beautiful rendition of Silent night in Italian, complete with the beautiful rolling suffixes we all love in Italian. 4…3..2..1..I start to sing…Oh! my voice decided to go high…oh goody! No starting over here like an awkward teenager.
Douce nuit, sainte nuit (Gentle/Silent night, Holy night)
Dans les cieux, l’astre luit. (In the heavens, the star shines)
Le mystère annoncé s’accomplit . (The announced mystery is accomplished.)
Cet enfant sur la paille endormi, (This child on the hay fast asleep,)
C’est l’amour infini, c’est l’amour infini. (He is infinite love, He is the infinite love.)
All things considered, it went well, and I think my voice only cracked once. I was a bit shaky as I squeezed my heart back down from my throat into my chest before stepping forward to light my candle as the congregation joined in English.
Thank you, Lord, for once again calling me out of my comfort zone to worship you in a different way. Thank you for the gifts you’ve given us, and on that Christmas night, thank you for sending your Son to go from helpless babe to conquering savior!