At 7.30pm on Tuesday 17 December, there grew a hush amongst those packed into St Giles'. Then our annual celebration of Christmas began with Mairi Brown's beautiful solo of the first verse of Once in Royal David's City.
What followed was familiar to all those who attend this wonderful service each year. Nine lessons read by pupils, staff and the Chairman of Governors, told the story and the significance of the Christ Child, and the choirs - all four this year - sang a range of haunting and glorious carols, ably supported in many by the congregation in full voice.
This was, once again, a magnificent expression of all that the Watson's 'family' involves, not least by the sea of former pupils who rush home from their university studies to sit alongside the choirs and sing with gusto and fondness for their school.
Such emotion - and those of us for whom this was to be their final 'St Giles'' had their vision blurred by the odd tear - was heightened by the musicianship of pupils and by the talent and leadership of our Music Department. Mr David Elliott was his exuberant and 'bouncy' self with the baton, whilst Mr Steven Griffin led the Chamber Choir, one of whose carols' score was his own composition, and Miss Sophie Buckingham conducted the Ex Corde Choir in the singing of her own score for Dormi Jesu.
Amidst the fortissimo of Sir Christemas and the tenderness of In the Bleak Midwinter everyone could feel the spirit of this magnificent high kirk and the expression of what unites us at this time of year. May 'St Giles'' flourish in the years to come as a clarion manifestation of ex corde caritas.