Writing became one of the most precious gifts to me at 8 years-old. To this day, it is my chosen mode of communicating.
December 24, 2018
The Christmas carol, “I Wonder as I Wander” was written by a man named John Jacob Niles-taken from a song he heard sung by a girl, Annie Morgan, in the Appalachians in the 1930s. She and her family were traveling evangelists, going from small Appalachian town to town, speaking the good news of Jesus Christ, that a Savior had come to bind up the brokenhearted, to preach the good news to the poor.
Their time had come to an end in this small Appalachian town; they were causing a “disturbance” and being a nuisance to the townspeople and were forced to leave by the police. As this tiny girl and her family were packing up, she began to sing a melody…
“I wonder as I wander out under the sky | How Jesus my Savior did come for to die | For poor ‘ordinary people alike you and like I - I wonder as I wander out under the sky”
These words struck John Jacob Niles. This haunting carol sung by a girl whose family would be left to wander in the wilderness of the Appalachian mountains captivated Niles and he begged her to continue to sign the song until he had written every lyric down.
For some reasons as I picture Annie and her family traveling through Appalachia, I see them traveling by light, by a lantern. The light leading them in the wandering. This family knowing that the light would continue to shine in the darkness, in their dark moments. Annie Morgan, did not know where her wandering would take her, what would come next, but she knew who the Wonder was.
Humans have a history of wandering. God’s own chosen people, the Israelites, wandered in the desert for 40 years. As we move through the Old Testament we read in Isaiah that “Those who have wandered in darkness, have seen a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”
We all at some time have wandered. We have wandered through moments of uncertainty, not knowing if we will have one more chance to say hello to a loved one. We have wandered through moments of pain, wondering when this season will end, when the healing will come. We have wandered off on our own accord, thinking that something out there is better than what the Father who is the giver of all good things have given us. Wherever we may wander, our wandering should lead us to the Wonder of a Savior.