Not a church-goer, not a Christian, not even with the vaguely "C of E" background of most British adults in the UK, I was despondent, lonely and with a hankering for I knew not what.
A caring lovely neighbour thought as a music-lover I might enjoy the experience of Midnight Mass and, since she was intending to go to our local church took me with her.
At a time when I would normally have been in bed, we left home and drove to town.
The church was beautifully decorated, candle-lit and amazingly full of people - no mean feat since it is a huge building.
There was an air of anticipation throughout the service. The sermon was preached by the then rector wearing a reindeer hat with antlers on his head, the excellent choir sang every carol and hymn with which I had a nodding acquaintance (from school days), until they got to one I had never heard before.
Sung softly, and unaccompanied the unusual and haunting tune caught me and stayed with me for many weeks after the service.
I discovered it was called "Jesus Christ the apple tree", and made up my mind then and there that I would learn it, start to sing again (after a 24 year gap) and that I would join the choir of that church and one day sing the lovely carol.
Five years and six Christmases after that, we are finally to sing it in our Nine Lessons and Carols Service tomorrow evening.
,For the past week I have been laid low with a horrible cold, sore throat and basso profundo croak, which is now beginning to loosen its grip, so tomorrow I will sing the lovely carol even if it kills me and deafens everyone else.
It is much too important an occasion to miss.
Christmas is about so many things, memories being one of the more important ones.
If I have done it right (unlikely), clicking on the picture at the top will give you the version of the carol sung by the St. John's College Cambridge choristers.
If it doesn't work you can get it on you tube.
Either way, listen, enjoy and have a very happy Christmas.