>> Saturday, December 18, 2010
The first known publication of "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" was in 1784 in Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs: for the use of Religious Assemblies and Private Christians by Joshua Smith, a lay Baptist minister from New Hampshire. It may have been based on an earlier anonymous American poem first printed in London's Spiritual Magazine in August of 1761.
The song may be an allusion to both the apple tree in Songs 2:3 which has been interpreted as a metaphor representing Christ, and to Jesus' description of his life as a tree of life in Luke 13:18-19 and elsewhere in the New Testament including Revelation 22:1-2. Apple trees were commonly grown in early New England and there was an old English tradition of wassailing or wishing health to apple trees on Christmas eve. The song is now performed by choirs around the world, especially during the Christmas season as a Christmas carol. --Wikipedia