Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “I Wonder As I Wander”


“I Wonder As I Wander” is different from any of the other Carols we sing and hear at Christmas. It is an Appalachian Carol and was sung by those people who lived in the Appalachian Mountains. When John Jacob Niles was living in Murphy, NC in 1933, he  heard the song by a young traveling evangelist named Annie Morgan. The story goes that he was so taken with the tune and the words he asked her to sing it repeatedly until he was able to memorize it. He wrote in his autobiography of Annie Morgan:

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

Follow the link and John Jacob Niles: American Balladeer can be heard singing, among other ballads, “I Wonder As I Wander” and playing the dulcimer.

This version has a haunting beauty that I believe you will enjoy.

Read the complete story at Hymns and Carols of Christmas.

“Two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, ‘What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?’ ” ~ Luke 24:1317

I wonder as I wander, out under the sky;
how Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
for poor ord’n’ry people like you and like I.
I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus, all in a cow’s stall,
came wise men and farmers and shepherds all,
and high from the heavens a star’s light did fall;
the promise of the 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 had 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 ord’n’ry people like you and like I.
I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.

Music has always been an important part of life in Appalachia and live concerts are often held there with groups such as The Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
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