Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

For the third text of Christmas, this blogger gives to thee…

A musical tradition Christians adopted for Christmas is wassailing. Wassailing comes from an old Saxon phrase for “be of good health.” It’s often a New-Year’s toast where people use it today, frequently accompanied by warm cider. There were two types of wassailing. The first resembles American Halloween trick-or-treating, going from house to house and wishing blessings upon the guests. This became door-to-door caroling, and though we’ve lost that tradition we still have some very famous Christmas songs that came out of it, including Vaughn Williams lovely arrangement of Wassail Song and the traditional Here We Come A-Wassailing.

The other type of wassailing was an English orchard ritual. One would go to recite incantations and sing to the trees, in the hope that they would remain healthy and produce good fruit during harvest. In light of Jesus’ birth, Richard Hutchins wrote Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, which takes orchard wassailing and places it alongside a meditation on Christ. Elizabeth Poston wrote an extraordinary carol based on these words.

The tree of life my soul hath seen
Laden with fruit and always green
The tree of life my soul hath seen
Laden with fruit and always green
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree

His beauty doth all things excel
By faith I know but ne’er can tell
His beauty doth all things excel
By faith I know but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought
And pleasure dearly I have bought
For happiness I long have sought
And pleasure dearly I have bought
I missed of all but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I’m weary with my former toil
Here I will sit and rest a while
I’m weary with my former toil
Here I will sit and rest a while
Under the shadow I will be
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit does make my soul to thrive
It keeps my dying faith alive
This fruit does make my soul to thrive
It keeps my dying faith alive
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

Video is very quiet, turn up the volume but watch out for those YouTube ads…

Vaughn Williams Wassail Song

Here we Come A-Wassailing

One thought on “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

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