“Waiting, Watching, Wandering…”

I wonder as I wander out under the sky…” begins one of my favorite Christmas songs.  I remember as a child thinking about Joseph and Mary wandering the hills, wondering what would come of them as they slowly made their way to Bethlehem.  When I was still in Grad School and a bit young and foolish, I decided to go for a late hike up on the Appalachian Trail.  I remember the weather was still fall crisp and hadn’t turned to winter chill.  I packed food, water, and a sleeping bag and made my way wandering up Humpback Mountain, arriving at the summit just in time to see the sunset.  I wondered how many sunsets Joseph and Mary watched and longed for the comforts of home, family, and ease in the midst of pregnancy.

Under a tall cedar, I laid my sleeping bag out and soon found myself drifting off to sleep in new trails and visions.  I don’t recall what I dreamed.  I’m sure Mary and Joseph had dreams each night in their wonderings.  Joseph had dreams of teaching a young Jesus how to use a planer, a saw, and a hammer.  Mary probably had visions of an adorable baby with bright eyes to offer love to the world.  “The world in solemn stillness lay…”

I was awoken to shivers in the middle of the night.  While I slept, an early snow had come down on the mountain.  It was no blizzard, but it was enough to make all the world wistfully white.  I sat up and leaned against the tree.  With the full moon striving to burn through the overcast sky, I found my wanderings had come to an end.  Joseph and Mary’s wanderings will soon come to an end.  In just a few days we will celebrate the birth of Jesus, the day when all the world’s wanderings came to an end.

As I came down the mountain, I started to sing.  “I wonder as I wander out under the sky, how Jesus the Savior did come for to die…”


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