Mary got the news, and we could sing a lot of versions of her response, usually called the Magnificat, but we heard a lot of those last year. So I have this charming traditional song, the “Cherry Tree Carol.”

This story isn’t from the Bible. It’s part of the fairly large collection of folklore that has come up around Christmas. We have Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the animals magically speaking at midnight on Christmas Eve, the Grinch, and a holy procession through Provence.

So why not a supernatural tree?

In this case, Mary is dealing with Joseph’s response to her news.

When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
 
Joseph and Mary walked through an orchard green
There were cherries and berries, as thick as might be seen
There were cherries and berries, as thick as might be seen
 
Mary said to Joseph, so meek and so mild:
Joseph, gather me some cherries, for I am with child
Joseph, gather me some cherries, for I am with child
 
Then Joseph flew in anger, in anger flew he
Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee!
Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee!
 
Then up spoke baby Jesus, from in Mary’s womb:
Bend down the tallest branches, that my mother might have some
Bend down the tallest branches, that my mother might have some
 
And bent down the tallest branches, it touched Mary’s hand
Cried she: Oh look thou Joseph, I have cherries by command
Oh look thou Joseph, I have cherries by command