“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…”