12 Great Christian Christmas Songs

by Pamela Rose Williams · Print Print · Email Email

The Christmas season is fast approaching and soon we will be hearing the carols and songs on the radio and all around the shopping areas. A good Christian Christmas song can help us to reflect upon why we celebrate the nativity. The words and music put us in a mood that matches no other throughout the year. Here are my top twelve picks for some great Christian Christmas songs for this joyous season. I have included traditional and contemporary favorites.

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Featured Song:

Adore Him (Kari Jobe)
This lovely contemporary Christmas carol was released as a single in 2009 by worship leader, Kari Jobe. Kari has a lovely testimony that you can read on her website: KARIJOBE. She has a sweet voice and “Adore Him” is a beautiful, worshipful, new carol that combines some lyrics and music from the traditional “O Come, All Ye Faithful” carol. I hope that you will enjoy the video below recalling  the miraculous birth of  our Savior, Jesus.

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Traditional Christmas Carols 

Away In A Manger (James R. Murray)

This Christmas favorite may be sung to one of two traditional melodies.  It is a great song to have in a Christmas play or pageant, when the children act out the nativity.

Sample Lyrics:

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes;
I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

The First Noel (Traditional English Carol)

Sample Lyrics:

The first Noel the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the east, beyond them far;
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Charles Wesley & Felix Mendelssohn)

Sample Lyrics:

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”
Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Joy To The World (Isaac Watts)

This is considered to be the most popular Christmas carol of all time.  Written by the great Isaac Watts, it is one of some 600 hymns that he wrote in his lifetime.  The lyrics of the carol are taken from the last part of Psalm 98.  Lowell Mason composed the music to this beloved carol  and some say it is based upon Handel’s Messiah, although this is not confirmed, it is true that Watts’ original title to the text of this carol was “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.” [1] I remember reading that although we sing this one primarily at the Christmas season, it is interesting to note that this was a favorite hymn in Mr. Watt’s lifetime and sung year-round.

Sing along to this popular carol here: Joy To The World

O Little Town of Bethlehem (Phillips Brooks & Lewis H. Redner)

Sample Lyrics:

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together,
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the king,
and peace to all on earth!

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

Listen to a midi file of this carol here: O Little Town of Bethlehem

Silent Night (Joseph Mohr & Franz Gruber)

This carol, originally written in German “Stille Nacht” was written in 1816 and set to music to be performed on Christmas day in 1818 in Austria. [2]  It is one that is often sung “a cappella” with harmonies.

Sample Lyrics:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Here is a lovely piano arrangement of: Silent Night

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Contemporary Christmas Songs

Christmas is All in the Heart ( Steven Curtis Chapman)

Sample Lyrics:

In a one bedroom apartment on the humble side of town
There stands a little Christmas tree, looks a lot like Charlie Brown’s
And underneath there’s one little gift for him and one little gift for her
After six months on the new job, they’re still barely getting by
So in the way of decorations, there’s nothing there to catch your eye
But both of them would be the first to say
We’re together, we’re gonna have the merriest Christmas anyway

‘Cause Christmas is all in the heart, that’s where the feeling starts
And like a fire inside, it touches every part
‘Cause Christmas is all in the heart

And even if no white snow falls, that’s all right because
The joy can still be found, wherever you are
‘Cause Christmas is all, all in the heart
Two little blonde haired boys with big dreams, tried to sleep but sleep wouldn’t come
We’d be tearing into presents, long before the break of dawn
With Mom and Dad and cameras making sure we’d never forget that day
Now I’m the one who’s taking pictures, in the middle of the night
Of my own blonde headed dreamers that just can’t wait until daylight

And in my sleepy eyes the spark still glows
Well I guess there’s just some things a kid never outgrows

No, it’s not in the snow that may or may not fall
And it’s not in the gifts around the tree
It’s in the love heaven gave, the night our Savior came
And that same love can still be found wherever you are
‘Cause Christmas is all in the heart
And the joy can still be found, wherever you are
‘Cause Christmas is all, all in the heart
It’s all in the heart

Listen to a sample of this song here: Christmas is All in the Heart

I Celebrate the Day (Reliant K)

Sample Lyrics

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You’ve touched my life
Because here is where You’re finding me, in the exact same place as New Year’s eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I’ll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might [ really ]live
To look back and think that
And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

Watch a video and sing along here: I Celebrate the Day

Immanuel (Michael Card)

Sample Lyrics:

A sign shall be given
A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing
Undiminished deity
The glory of the nations
A light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace
His warm reality

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come

So what will be your answer?
Will you hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His son
But gave him for us all
On earth there is no power
There is no depth or height
That could ever separate us
From the love of God in Christ
(chorus 2 x)

Watch a video and listen to this song sung by Michael Card here: Immanuel

Mary Did You Know (Mark Lowry & Buddy Green)

Mark Lowry is well known for his comedy and for his baritone part in the Gaither Vocal Band, however, did you know he is also a talented song writer?  He wrote the lyrics to “Mary Did You Know” in 1984 and it wasn’t until six years later that Buddy Green composed the music to it.  It was first recorded by Michael English in 1991 and later by Mark Lowry himself in 1998.  It has been recorded by several dozen artists as well. [3] It is a thoughtful song about questions that one might ask Mary, if they were there to witness the birth of Jesus, her firstborn Son and the Savior of the world.

Sample Lyrics:

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I AM

Listen to Mark Lowry and the Gather Vocal Band sing this song on video: Mary Did You Know?

We Are the Reason (David Meece)

This is a lovely ballad that gives a clear idea of the reason for Christmas.  Take a look at these lyrics and go to the link below to sing along with the video. This may be one of your new favorites to repeat year after year.

Sample Lyrics:

As little children we’d dream of Christmas morn
And all the gifts and toys we knew we’d find
But we never realized a baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

We are the reason that He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

As the years went by we learned more of our gifts
The giving of ourselves and what that means
On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying in the rain
Because of love
Because of love

I finally found the reason for living
It’s in giving every part of my heart to Him (every part to Him)
And all that I do every word that I say (you know I’ll be saying)
I will give all my life just for Him, just for Him (everything for Him)

We are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give (all that he could give all)
To show us the reason to live

He is the reason to live
(don’t you know do you know the reason
that he came, oh he came to save us
when he gave his life for us) he suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave everything (everything that He had He gave)
To show us the reason to live

Watch the video and sing along here: We Are the Reason

What’s Your Favorite Christian Christmas Song?

Share your favorite song in the comments below. We love to hear from our readers! You might also find the links listed under “Related Posts” below helpful.


youtube.com “Adore Him” by Kari Jobe


[1] Christian Music @ Suite 101

[2] About.com Music Education

[3] Southern Gospel History

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