“I Wonder as I Wander” was published by John Jacob Niles, a folklorist and composer, based on the fragment of a traditional Appalachian carol, in 1934. It remains one of the most loved Christmas Carols, and a rare entry in Christmas hymnody by an American.
“I Wonder as I Wander” (1934)
John Jacob Niles (1892-1980)
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.