The day of the first snow was heavy and wet
It settled on trees like a heavy cloak.
Young Jasmine woke and quickly dressed in her pink snowsuit
And kneeling in the snow,
she freed the branches of her “baby apple tree” from the weight of snow.
Perhaps it was the kneeling
Perhaps it was the tiny apple tree surrounded by a stand of guardian trees
Perhaps it was the tender bond between the girl’s heart and her tree
But to my heart came the mystical poem and carol
Jesus Christ the Apple Tree.
It originated in the Appalachian mountains in New England in the 18th century.
The one who penned it is unknown.
It is found first in print in 1761 and then set to music.
By 1784 it appeared in hymnals as a Christmas Carol.
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. (Public Domain)
These are words to feed the heart.
The imagery of mystical love may be rooted in this biblical love poem:
“And you, sweetheart – you are as rare
as an apple tree, in the middle of a forest.
My little apple tree, can I lie in your shade?
Can I eat just little of this sweet fruit.” (Song of Songs 2:3 Inclusive Bible)
Here is the sweet desire between lovers with body and mind so entwined they are one.
A wholeness echoed in the love of a child,
still so close to her Source,
that she kneels
to brush snow from her baby apple tree.
(Photo credit: Karen Sears)
Listen to Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree by Jane Siberry.