Over the next few days I'm going to post some of my favourite music from the festive season and open up a bit and tell you the story behind them...
I used to find it very hard to get into the Christmas season. For me it was a busy time. I had all the normal church programmes, visits, and activities to plan and deliver. On top of that were the special gatherings, church, community, charity, etc. Then there were the extra visits, the extra services to plan (and normally nominating committee ran on into December too!). I was often too busy to really feel as if I was grasping the reality of the time, and was struggling to pass it on.
So I used to go to another Christmas service. You see, I really couldn't worship in my own, after all I had probably planed it and was too busy ensuring it went to plan to get to worship properly.
So I would find another Churches service. I would look for an Episcopal (Anglican) church as I felt at home there, and go to a traditional service of nine lessons and Carols. I went to the cathedral in Glasgow a few times and then when I moved to Edinburgh I went to St John's.
2004 was my first Christmas in Edinburgh and my first year on my own in the church (in Glasgow I worked with another minister) and I had only just arrived at the church. So on top of all the usual business I was trying to settle in.
The Scottish Mission had its Christmas Dinner in Crieff at the Hydro and then when it finished I shot down the motorway to Edinburgh and got to the church just in time to find a seat. Desperately needing to rediscover the meaning of Christmas I waited to the service to start.
And there at the back of the church, the single voice of the solo began and the choir processed singing this hymn.
And all at once the glory of the Advent was rediscovered.
"Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" Ar. Elizabeth Poston
(This is the only version I could find... It wasn't a male voice choir at St John's... but you should still get the effect)