Saturday, 20 December 2014

The power of music

The first time I attended midnight mass was in 2009, four months after my husband's death.

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.


  1. You did it (youtube) right. Having a cold when you want to sing is such a nuisance. I hope it goes well.

  2. Thankyou Colin. I am tons better today, so fingers crossed.
    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  3. One of my favourites too Ray...I'll think of you singing ... With lots of Christmas blessings.

  4. Thankyou Jean and Christmas Blessings to you also. X

  5. One of my favourite carols too, Ray, and I love Midnight Mass. Sadly I won't be going this year, even though the church is just round the corner from our son's house, as I just daren't venture out in the dark on my own at present. Enjoy your Carol Service and have a very blessed Christmas.

  6. I'm sorry you will miss Midnight Mass Perpetua, is there no-one who would go with you?
    You certainly should not consider going out alone but it is a pity.
    This morning I went to the 10.00 Eucharist and tried out my croak. It wasn't too bad so have rested this afternoon, sucked Olbas pastilles and will sing (not well) tonight. Deo Gracias.
    A blessed Christmas to you too X

    1. Unfortunately not, Ray. In the past my mother-in-law would have come with me, but not now at her age and state of health. I'm afraid the members of this side of the family are distinctly unchurched, unlike DD's side.