27 Christian Christmas Songs that Celebrate the True Meaning
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Amidst the hustle and bustle of the most wonderful time of the year, it is easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas shopping, Christmas cookies, the bright and shiny Christmas tree, the delicious food, and the fun holiday cheer can easily overshadow the real reason for the season.
Listening to Christian Christmas songs, studying the Bible, and meditating on Christmas Bible verses are effective ways to remind ourselves that Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
While there are innumerable Christmas songs out there, not all of them celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, one of them that is very popular is the 12 Days of Christmas. Did you know that this song was actually written to celebrate the birth of Christ? Check out the true meaning of the 12 days of Christmas.
Looking for a way to bless others this Christmas season? Check out how you can bless kids and share the good news of Jesus Christ with Operation Christmas Child.
The Best Christian Christmas Songs
In this article, I have prepared a list of the best Christian Christmas songs that spread holiday joy and get you in the right spirit for Christmas. You would want to play some of these on loop or even add them to your year-round playlist!
1. “The First Noel” by Carrie Underwood
The First Noel is available in so many different versions and has become a holiday staple. It tells the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. If you haven’t listened to Carrie Underwood’s country rendition of The First Noel, add this track to your list to get everybody in the right spirit for Christmas!
2. “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Jamie Cullum
Jamie Cullum will stun you with his rendition of “In the Bleak Midwinter”, originally a ballad written by the English poet, Christina Rossetti. The unbeatable lyrics “Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain/ Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign/ In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed/ Lord God incarnate, Jesus Christ” along with the vocals are nothing short of magical.
3. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Celtic Woman
The appearance of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” dates back to 1739, originally written by Charles Wesley. This timeless classic has been covered by Celtic Woman, the all-female magical music group. The heavenly instruments and the mindblowing vocals by Celtic Woman make it a holiday staple that can get us into the Christmas spirit in no time.
4. “We Three Kings” by Dolly Parton
“We Three Kings” is based on The Biblical Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men who followed the Star of Bethlehem to find baby Jesus and present gifts of gold. Written by John Henry Hopkinds Jr. in 1857, this song remains a Christian Christmas music favorite, and the vocals by Dolly Parton is one to listen to over and over again.
5. “Mary’s Boy Child” by Harry Belafonte
“Mary’s Boy Child” is from Harry Belafonte’s album called an Evening with Belafonte. It has been a best-selling song since its release in 1956. It celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and has been covered by plenty of artists. If you want to listen to an upbeat version of this melody, check the cover by the German group called Boney M.
6. “Angels We Have Heard on High” by Josh Groban
This timeless track is a hymn based on the Gospel of Luke, where angels sing and praise the newborn baby Jesus. Originally written in 1862, the song has received a well-deserved shine and can be included in your year-round playlist. Artists such as Pentatonix and Elevation Worship have also given an updated spin to this angelic track.
7. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” by Norah Jones
This spiritual hymn was written by Edmund Sears back in the 1800s. The carol talks about the angels singing and highlights peace and love. Although the hymn does not talk about baby Jesus or God, the positivity it exudes makes it ideal to play for Christmas. To top it off, Norah Jones has given the song a jazz twist that is refreshing and dazzling.
8. “Away in a Manger” by Sarah McLachlan
This hymn was first published in the late 19th century and has been a popular Christmas Carol ever since. But you might want to add to your list the most angelic version of this song covered by Sarah McLachlan, who released the track on her Christmas Album ‘Wonderland’. The stunning vocals of the artist make this cover of “Away in a Manger” simply beautiful and soothing.
9. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Nat King Cole
This Christian Christmas song was written in the 1860s by Philips Brooks, an Episcopal priest, after his voyage to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. The lyrics are all about the setting in which Jesus was born, the dark streets of Bethlehem, and the bright star in the eastern sky. “Yet in thy dark streets, shineth/ the everlasting light/ the hopes and fears of all the years/ are met in thee tonight”. This beautiful song along with Nat King Cole’s iconic voice remains a Christmas music favorite.
10. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Pentatonix
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” dates back to the 16th century or earlier, making it one of the oldest Christmas carols! It is also known by the ending phrase of each stanza: “tidings of comfort and joy”. Pentatonix magic can be seen and heard through this fresh carol about the salvation of mankind in the birth of Jesus. If you’re in the mood for a refreshing carol with a modern twist, play this right away.
11. “The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth)” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
The Bing Crosby and David Bowie combination makes this a fun and inspiring carol that will surely get you in the holiday spirit. The song is about a poor little boy who is told to visit the newborn baby Jesus. While others bring gifts of gold to the newborn, the little boy plays drums as he is poor and cannot bring expensive gifts. This soulful holiday mashup undoubtedly deserves a place in every Christian Christmas music playlist.
12. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Lauren Daigle
Written by John Mason Neale, this traditional carol announces the birth of Jesus and invites everyone to Bethlehem to celebrate the newborn King. The Hebrew name “Emmanuel” means “God is with us”, as seen in Matthew 1:23. This song celebrates the real meaning of Christmas and is an excellent track for every Christmas playlist!
13. “Silent Night” by Pentatonix
“Silent Night” is an obvious choice for a Christian Christmas music playlist, but have you listened to Pentatonix’s twist on this traditional tune? Because once you do, you’re likely to be hooked on this all year round. “Silent Night” was composed in 1818 and has become such a huge part of Christianity that the song was added to the “World Heritage List” by UNESCO in 2011. The track has been covered by several popular artists, including Kelly Clarkson and Josh Groban. And not surprisingly, the song has been translated into at least 300 languages!!
14. “Joy to the World” by Jeremy Riddle
“Joy to the World” remains one of the most published Christmas hymns in North America. The song is written by an English Congregational minister named Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98 which celebrates the arrival of newborn baby Jesus. The contemporary live performance of the carol by Jeremy Riddle, a songwriter, and pastor, is an uplifting version of this traditional classic.
15. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” by Whitney Houston
This popular song was written in 1962 by then-married couple Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker. The song is about a little lamb asking his shepherd to pray for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The track ends with the lyrics “the Child, the child, sleeping the night/ he will bring us goodness and light/ He will bring us goodness and light”. The meaningful lyrics along with Whitney Houston’s heavenly voice make this cover a beautiful holiday staple.
16. “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Céline Dion
The performance by church choirs is probably the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of “O Come All Ye Faithful”. The song announces the birth of Jesus and beckons us to Bethlehem to celebrate the arrival of baby Jesus. The song was originally written in Latin as “Adeste Fideles” and later translated to English by a Catholic priest named Frederick Oakeley. The Canadian Singer, Celine Dion’s beautiful voice gives a soulful spin to this traditional tune.
17. “What Child Is This” by Brad Paisley
“What Child Is This” is a Christian Christmas song written by William Chatterton Dix in 1865. The insurance manager wrote the song following a spiritual awakening after suffering from a severe illness. The hymn is performed in churches worldwide, but Brad Paisley will stun you with his country take on this popular song.
18. “Oh, Holy Night” by Mariah Carey
Get ready to be stunned by “Oh, Holy Night” by the queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey. The song was composed in 1847 by Adolphe Adam to a French poem called “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians). The lyrics are all about describing the setting in which Jesus was born and the newfound peace and hope He brought to the world. And with Mariah Carey’s powerful vocals, “Oh, Holy Night” is a perfect carol that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.
19. “He Shall Reign Forevermore” by Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin released his second Christmas Album “Adore” consisting of contemporary worship songs. “He Shall Reign Forevermore” is the first track of the album. The song talks about the incarnation of Jesus Christ and His everlasting reign. This holiday season, add this uplifting and beautiful track to your Christmas songs playlist.
20. “Soul Holidays” by Sounds of Blackness
“Soul Holidays” is a 1992 song written and produced by the most celebrated Grammy award-winning group called Sounds of Blackness. The song reminds us of the reason why we celebrate Christmas: “Let’s not forget why we’re here/ Cause There is reason for every season/ We give our thanks to who we believe in”. This energetic track will spread happiness and Christmas cheer and get everyone in the right spirit for Christmas Day.
21. “Glory to the Lamb” by Marvin Sapp
Several artists have covered this popular track by Geoffrey Golden. Marvin Sapp, a well-known Gospel artist, covered “Glory to the Lamb” in this 2003 album, Diary of a Psalmist. The album earned sixth place on Billboard’s Top Gospel Album chart. This soulful track is sure to set the mood to celebrate Christmas meaningfully.
22. “The Virgin Mary Had One Son” by Josh Garrels
Like the song title, the track celebrates the arrival of newborn baby Jesus. The song has been covered by many artists, including The Staple Singers and Joan Baez & Bob Gibson. But Josh Garrels’s soulful and uplifting version is one to listen to again and again.
23. “Mary, Did you know” by Pentatonix
This ever-popular Christmas song is written from the perspective of Mother Mary. The song and the music were written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene, respectively in 1991. The lyrics are asking if Mary foresaw the incredible power that Jesus would hold if she knew that her son would be the Redeemer of mankind. The track has been covered by various artists in different genres, but Pentatonix’s acapella gives this traditional tune a fresh and unique twist.
24. “Light of the World” by Lauren Daigle
Lauren Daigle’s first Christmas album released in 2016 features “Light of the World”, a beautiful and warm Christmas song. The lyrics focus on Jesus himself, the Messiah, The Prince of Peace, and describes him as the “Light of the World”. The track celebrates the true meaning of Christmas and Lauren’s spectacular vocals give it the well-deserved shine.
25. “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns
This song is based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who endured many difficulties during the American Civil war. Wadsworth lost his beloved wife in a house fire which also severely burned him. Just a year later, his son was badly wounded in the Civil war. The song initially echoes the poet’s painful circumstances. But eventually, the song takes a hopeful turn when the poet hears the Christmas bells: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:/ “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep/ The Wrong shall fail/ The Right prevail / With peace on earth, good-will to men.” You will be more than impressed by the thought-provoking lyrics of this song along with the beautiful vocals of Casting Crowns.
26. “A Baby Changes Everything” by Faith Hill
“A Baby Changes Everything” by the American country singer, Faith Hill, has been the No 1 Billboard Adult Contemporary song for 21 days. The lyrics follow the story of a pregnant teenage girl who is uncertain of what the future holds. Later in the song, it is revealed that the teenage girl is Mother Mary. The song with its meaningful lyrics and the angelic voice of Faith Hill truly deserves a place in your Christmas playlist!
27. “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” by Amy Grant
Here’s another Christian Christmas song written from the perspective of the Virgin Mary. Written in 1992 by English songwriter Chris Eaton, “Breath of Heaven” focuses on the thoughts and fears of Mother Mary about giving birth to Jesus. Although she is frightened, she has good faith in the mercy of God and prays for the strength to deal with the situation. Sung by Amy Grant, this beautiful song is an excellent choice for your Christmas playlist.
What Are Your Favorite Christian Christmas Songs?
This Christian Christmas music list is a great way to get your Christmas playlist started. I know there are tons of Christian Christmas songs out there. I’d love to hear some of your favorites. Let me know in the comments below.