Today’s Reading: John 1:1-5, 14
Did you know that this song is classified as a “Christian Folk Hymn”, but it is typically known as a Christmas carol! I had no idea this was a folk song, perhaps that’s why I care for it so much.
“Collected by John Jacob Niles in Murphy, NC in July 1933 from a young traveling evangelist Annie Morgan. According to Niles, he asked her to sing the song repeatedly until he had memorized it. It was published in his 1934 Songs of the Hill-Folk. Written in a minor key, it’s qualities of pensiveness make it one of today’s most popular carols.” Hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com
I feel like many of us have wondered while we were wandering, especially when it comes to this life. I can also imagine the original writer of this song wondering why Jesus came to Earth here for us. The girl who first sang the song, Annie Morgan, was part of a family who were evangelists, but they were also squatting in the town square. The townsfolk were actually running them out of their town on the day John Jacob Niles heard her signing. When your family is being run out of town, you probably know a thing or two about just how ornery people can be. And you must often wonder why Jesus left a glorious home where He had everything – just a thought would bring Him whatever he wanted, and yet He traded it. Doesn’t seem like much of a bargain for Him, but it sure was a jackpot for us.
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.
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 heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.
Seeing how this is a folk hymn, I thought who better to hear sing it than Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary. I heard the version by Placido Domingo, and although I love his voice and the song was beautiful – there was something that was a little too much about it, I didn’t feel as if he was wandering anywhere at all. I think Julie Andrews sings my favorite version but the voice only version by Maureen Hegarty is also quite lovely.
So if I told you I had 7 versions of this song in my collection, would you believe me? It has nothing to do with this project either, I just really like this song.