I Wonder as I Wander

GodTube Staff I Wonder as I Wander
"I Wonder as I Wander" is a Christian folk hymn that is often performed as a Christmas carol. This song reflected on the Bible story of Jesus' Birth and the wondrous gift He was from God. Read its lyrics and find the amazing background story of this tune below. Also, find video performances following to enjoy this beloved carol.

1 I wonder as I wander, out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die
For poor ordinary people like you and like I.
I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.

2 When Mary birthed Jesus, all in a cow's stall,
Came wise men and farmers and shepherds and all,
And high from the heavens a star's light did fall;
The promise of the 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 heaven for to sing,
He surely could have had it, 'cause he was the king.

Songwriters John Jacob Niles Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind I Wonder as I Wander

According to Wikipedia,

"I Wonder as I Wander" is a Christian folk hymn, typically performed as a Christmas carol, written by American folklorist and singer John Jacob Niles. The hymn has its origins in a song fragment collected by Niles on July 16, 1933.

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 In his unpublished autobiography, he wrote of hearing the song: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.

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". Based on this fragment, Niles composed the version of "I Wonder as I Wander" that is known today, extending the melody to four lines and the lyrics to three stanzas. His composition was completed on October 4, 1933. Niles first performed the song on December 19, 1933, at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. It was originally published in Songs of the Hill Folk in 1934.

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash


"I Wonder As I Wander," from Music Serving the Word Ministries
'I Wonder as I Wander' Hymn Beautifully Reimagined by Lindsey Stirling

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