The Promise of Ages

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour 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 heaven to sing
He surely could have 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 on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
~I Wonder as I Wander — folk song

  When I was a young person I loved to walk at night up the road in front of our home. The road in front our house was a gravel road with a dead end, consequently there was little or no traffic most of the time, so you could stop and look up at the sky and observe the panoply of celestial orbs that filled the heavens. We lived in the country so the lights from the large towns was no problem, the stars shone brightly.
     Finding this Carol, an early Appalachian folk song, I thought it was a unique Carol as it had a different musical tone to it and the words were slightly different than the average Carol. At Christmas time I would wander up our road with my brothers or a cousin or two and we would sing this Carol as we went up the way with a light snow fall drifting down on our path. I remember all the words in those four stanzas even today.
    At Christmas time when wheeling my wife down the halls, in the care center, she would ask me to sing this Carol as she knew I had all the words memorized.
     I enjoy singing this Carol as the music can be your own. That’s the neat thing about a folk song. To the Appalachian folk the tune wasn’t the important thing, it was the words. There were never two tunes the same. It was only in the 40’s that someone wrote the score that is commonly associated with the Carol today.
    The words with the music create a sense of wonder as you consider the awesome truth that God’s only son came into this broken world not in a palace or a mansion, but as the song puts it, “In a cow’s stall.” Yes he could have had a host of Angels to do his bidding, but he came to serve, “To give his life as a ransom for many.” He was the servant King now seated at God the  Father’s right hand having accomplished His Father’s saving purpose bringing many sons and daughters into Glory.Such is the message of this Carol.
Sing all those four stanzas, you can sing your own tune as did the older Appalachians.
Christmas blessings.
~Pastor Jack Matheis

Cambridge Singers Singing the John Rutter arrangement

One thought on “The Promise of Ages

  1. Pingback: The Promise of Ages | Christians Anonymous

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