The choir will sing a beautiful anthem by Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987), Jesus Christ the Apple Tree. Poston was one of the foremost female English composers of her day. She was encouraged early on in her career by none other than Ralph Vaughan Williams, and went on to follow in his footsteps as a composer in many genres and a collector of folk songs. The text of her anthem this Sunday is reportedly the work of an anonymous 18th century resident of New England. It uses metaphor to tie different parts of scripture together into a very good Advent and Christmas piece. The lyrics are printed below.
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
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:
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 awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.
This fruit doth 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.
As you can see, the poem is very conducive to Advent and anticipates Christmas with joy. Other music this Sunday is intended to emphasize these sentiments as well. During communion, we will sing The First Song of Isaiah by Jack Noble White and a soloist will offer Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion by G. F. Handel. These two pieces tie in with the readings perfectly as you will see on Sunday!
In conclusion, please remember to have your children in kindergarten through 5th grade gather by the piano after church on Sunday for our Christmas Pageant dress rehearsal. It's hard to believe, but the pageant is a week from Sunday! You can also help your child prepare by teaching them the first verses of Angels we have heard on high, Silent night, and Away in a manger. The pageant is always exciting, and we will have a wonderful time if everyone comes to rehearsal this week. Blessings to you and yours for a lovely Gaudete Sunday!