The Music of Christmas

It is Christmas time and that means radio stations are playing songs about Santa, reindeer, Jesus, and joy. In our churches, we are singing old hymns about bells, and angels, and a little town called Bethlehem. For some, this is the best time of year. We (I include myself in this group) love this season. We love the songs, the food, the lights, and the meaning of it all. Others would rather bypass this entire season because to them it means stress, dealing with difficult family members, cold weather, and endless activities that keep them busy. Let us take a moment and feel sorry for the latter group.

Enough feeling sorry for them because this article is not for them. It is for those of us that revel in this time of year. It is for us that LOVE Christmas and Jesus. (I’m not saying that if you dislike the Christmas season you don’t love Jesus, but…) If you love Christmas time and all that it entails, stand and be counted.

For the purposes of this article, I am interested in hearing from the people that love Christmas music. Below, you will find a poll with what I consider to be ten of the greatest Christmas hymns ever written. Please choose your top three. (And for the contrarians out there, I included an “other” option.) After you have voted, let us know why you voted the way you did in the comments section. I am hoping for some well-reasoned responses and some good fights.

The Greatest Christmas Hymn

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Phill Lytle

I love: Jesus, my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, Firefly, 80s rock, Stranger Things, the Tennessee Titans, the St. Louis Cardinals, Brandon Sanderson books, Band of Brothers, Thai food, music, books, movies, TV, writing, Arrested Development, pizza, vacation, etc...

13 thoughts on “The Music of Christmas

  • December 22, 2015 at 12:56 pm
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    I voted for O Holy Night. Although Hark! the Herald Angel is probably the most theologically rich popular Christmas songs, O Holy Night is not very far behind. And in the beauty department, it is by far number one.

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  • December 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm
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    Joy to the World! for sure. The second verse is amazing. “He rules the world with truth and grace..”

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  • December 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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    Dave, did you know that Joy to the World was actually written about Christ’s second coming?

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  • December 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm
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    My top three are:
    O Holy Night – a great mix of melody and lyric.
    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – this song just has a haunting feel to it. A yearning expressed in both the words and the music.
    I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day – I love the story it tells. The way it starts, then despair sets in, and then hope overcomes it. It’s beautiful.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2015 at 6:54 pm
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    O Holy Night – No doubt. “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, til he appears and the soul felt its worth…” “Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother…” I think it tells the ‘whole’ story and not just the Christmas part. And I really enjoy the mixture of major and minor keys.

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  • December 23, 2015 at 5:14 am
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    My top favorite is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. I love the “God and sinner reconciled” line. Something about it really helps me imagine the moment of Christ’s birth–the world at attention and all the angels rejoicing! My second favorite is Oh Holy Night. The lyrics are beautiful and the music builds emotion. “Fall on your knees…” Love that! And Joy to the World just makes me happy. I don’t think it’s possible to frown while singing it.

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    • December 23, 2015 at 8:28 am
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      Danielle, great choices! Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is so full of theology. Such a rich song. Thanks for participating.

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  • December 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm
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    For theological depth and richness, it’s hard to beat “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” For beauty and impact “O Holy Night” is right up there.

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  • November 29, 2017 at 11:32 am
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    My favorite is a 3-way tie: “Joy to the World”, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, and “What Child is This.”
    IMO they combine the most beautiful tune with the most profound theology.
    Plus they are easier to play on the piano than “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”.
    :)

    Reply
  • Pingback: Five Reasons “Away in a Manger” is the Worst Christmas Song Ever – Rambling Ever On

  • December 10, 2019 at 2:50 am
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    I chose O Come All Ye Faithful, because to me, being called to Joyfully and Triumphantly join in the miracle of Christ, is an amazing invitation (I’m really having a hard time putting this into words, so it’s okay if you don’t get it ). And ‘Other’ for Little Drummer Boy (For King And Country ftw!), and just about anything by TSO.

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  • December 10, 2019 at 4:40 am
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    I knew I missed another “Other”!!! We just moved, not done unpacking, and now I’m going to drive EVERYone insane looking for this CD, which has been packed since Alaska (3 moves, 2.5 years ago…they’re re going to kill me!) Rock Power Praise Vol 2: Christmas Hymns. Start to finish favorites, but the true standout is Sara Tennison’s’ What Child Is This’ — I’m hearing it in my head now at 4 ayem, and must go blast it on my stereo!!! Thanks, ya’ll, see what you’ve gotten me into???

    Reply
    • December 10, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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      Happy we could help!

      Reply

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