1. I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
2. 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.
3. 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 heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.
This is one of my favorite Christmas hymns. The lyrics paint beautiful pictures in my mind, and the melody is in a marvelous minor key. I recorded my own version of it today.
The story behind this song is fascinating. It was written by John Jacob Niles, an American folk singer, in 1933. However, the original idea came from a young girl that he met while attending a fundraising event. Here is Nile’s account of that meeting-
“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.”
“The girl, named Annie Morgan, repeated the fragment seven times in exchange for a quarter per performance, and Niles left with “three lines of verse, a garbled fragment of melodic material—and a magnificent idea” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Wonder_as_I_Wander)
Niles went on to write two more verses and it was performed for the first time in North Carolina on December 19, 1933.
The song is just as beautiful now as it was then.