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I Wonder as I Wander


This old song came to mind this evening; and though this is a re-post, (I also posted it last year during Christmas) I wanted to share it again. In the season when Christians around the world are celebrating the birth of Jesus, this simple little tune is a sober reminder that Jesus was born to die; for me and you…

“I Wonder as I Wander” had its origins in a song fragment collected on July 16, 1933 by folklorist and singer John Jacob Niles.

While in the town of Murphy in Appalachian North Carolina, Niles attended a fundraising meeting held by evangelicals who had been ordered out-of-town by the police. In his unpublished autobiography, he wrote of hearing the song:

A girl had stepped out to the edge of the little platform attached to the automobile. She began to sing. Her clothes were unbelievable dirty and ragged, and she, too, was unwashed. Her ash-blond hair hung down in long skeins…. But, best of all, she was beautiful, and in her untutored way, she could sing. She smiled as she sang, smiled rather sadly, and sang only a single line of a song.

Niles left with “three lines of verse, and a garbled fragment of melodic material. Based on this fragment, Niles composed the version of “I Wonder as I Wander”.

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all
But high from God’s heaven, a star’s light did fall
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing
Or all of God’s Angels in heaven to sing
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

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2 comments on “I Wonder as I Wander

  1. Beautiful!…I love this song.
    Merry Christmas, PJ!

  2. Merry Christmas Katie! :-)

    I love this old song too….

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