Luke 2:13-14 – Then all at once in the night sky, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing:
“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven!
For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.”
There are so many wonderful Christmas traditions: cookies, presents, cards, trees and decorations and on and on and on. While there are many things about Christmas that I love, Christmas carols are near the top of the list of what I enjoy the most.
When I served churches, a comment that I heard regularly is how much people LOVED singing Christmas carols. Most folks felt we did not sing them enough! When it comes to Christmas music, there are two very different ways people approach carols. Purists do not think Christmas carols should be sung until Christmas Eve. Advent is for Advent songs; not Christmas. And then, there are the people who begin listening to Christmas music right after Halloween, which drives the purists mad.
I fall in-between these two opposites. When Advent begins, I think it is perfectly fine to sing Christmas carols. If we wait until Christmas Eve, we won’t get them all in! But I’m not sure that Christmas carols should be the norm to early. While I might not tire of carols, I know some people (i.e. – Hubby Rick) aren’t all that excited about Christmas carols for weeks on end.
So where do you fall? All the time, every time? Only at Christmas Eve and beyond? Or somewhere in the middle?
There are so many great Christmas carols. It would be very difficult for me to pick my top five. So instead, today, I’m sharing some of my favorite Christmas carols and versions sung by people that I truly appreciate. I’ll drop the songs throughout the blog, but I have also created a YouTube Playlist that you can click on and let the songs run through at your pleasure.
Ready for some of my favorite carols? Here we go!
Go Tell It On the Mountain – Texas Hill & Home Free
My cousin Heather actually put me onto this song. AND I AM IN LOVE!! While I know that some people prefer carols be sung as they were initially written, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to make the song your own. And this is what these singers did with this rendition of a great swinging Christmas song.
Little Drummer Boy – Carrie Underwood and son Isaiah Fischer
During the pandemic, Carrie recorded this version with her son Isaiah. It’s a sweet version to hear her son sing with her.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel – The Piano Guys
If you are looking for a traditional Advent song, this one is THE BEST one out there. There are lots of great versions with someone singing the many verses of this song. But I think this version with just a piano and cello is breath-taking.
The Prayer – Pentatonix
Is this a Christmas carol? Maybe not. But isn’t prayer important during Advent and Christmas? You bet!! I love this gorgeous version of this song by an acapella group.
A Christmas Hallelujah – Cassandra Star & Callahan
A few years ago, some took the Leonard Cohen “Hallelujah” song and changed the words for a Christmas version. I love this song. And it is so sweetly sung in this version by two sisters.
O What a Glorious Night – The Sidewalk Prophets
The Sidewalk Prophets have several great Christmas songs. This one may not be as well known, but your kids and grandkids will like this upbeat song. And you will to!
Breath of Heaven – Mat & Savanna Shaw
Years ago, Amy Grant made this song famous. And while her version is fantastic, I enjoy this one by a daddy-daughter duo. I hope you do as well!
O Holy Night – Celtic Worship
Would it be Christmas without “O Holy Night?” I don’t think so. I have played this during so many Christmas Eve worship services for a variety of people. And I never tire of it. This rendition was recorded during the pandemic and how they did it makes it even more special.
Silent Night – Manheim Steamroller
I am going to close out this Christmas playlist with the song that has closed every Christmas Eve service I have led and attended. Usually, people are holding a candle that is flickering as the song as sung. This version is different. But purely beautiful and lovely. Light a candle and sit with it while this song plays.
Now, let’s say you want to listen to these songs on repeat.
No problem! I have it ready to go. Just click on this Christmas 2021 Playlist and enjoy! I’m going to be listening to these songs often between now and Christmas … and I hope you will as well!
For the gift of remembering the story of Christmas through songs and carols, I am grateful.
Holy God – I can’t imagine what a choir of angels sounded like when they found the shepherds! It must have been glorious! Thank you for the gift of music, for those who use this talent to celebrate the Christmas story year after year. May I appreciate and celebrate the many special and unique songs of the Christmas season. Amen.
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