Christmas Top 10s: Christian Christmas Carols

The “Christmas Top 10s” series is a subjective look at Christmas carols, hymns, and movies that accompany the holiday that everyone loves dearly. The things that pop-culture has given us in this celebration in terms of music, filmmaking, and art is awesome, so why ignore it? Instead, let’s have some fun with this series every Friday of December 2018 as we anticipate Christmas Day.


Well folks, it’s finally here, the last Christmas Top 10s post!

I have had an incredible amount of fun and enjoyment from these posts, especially when I got to really think about what my favorite secular Christmas carols and Christmas movies were. This post is the one that I have been looking forward to the most for the Christmas Top 10s: the Christian Christmas carols.

I think there are few songs that I get more joy out of singing than Bohemian Rhapsody, but hymns and Christian carols are definitely a part of those few. Anything that exults Christ will always be a great joy and wonderful experience to sing; who is more worthy of my voice than the One who made it? That is why this will be my favorite of the list and why I hope that this one, above all others, will be the list to really strike a chord (pun intended) within the hearts of all who read this.

Now, before we start the list, I want you all to know that I laid down a couple of ground rules for myself in order to not make this list not… completely vain.

1) I cannot mention the same song twice; that would be cheating. Not only that, it wouldn’t be any fun because the whole list would basically be two songs and the rest would be different covers of my favorite carol ever. Not cool James, am I right?

2) All songs that refer to the birth of Jesus and Christianity will be counted as Christian carols as they contain themes that are more clerical than secular. (Check out my secular carols list if you wanna read my list of non-religious carols.)

With all that said, let’s get to the list and hope you give my personal opinion a chance!

Dishonorable

  • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear — I get why people like it, but I find it kinda bland.
  • Do You Hear What I Hear? by Bing Crosby — It’s not the song that’s the problem. I actually kinda like it. It’s just that the story is the song doesn’t correspond with the biblical account. King Herod didn’t exactly tell people to pray for peace as much as he killed firstborns.
  • Silent Night — Hear me out: I think it’s overrated and overplayed, and worst of all, it doesn’t even focus on the theological importance of Christmas as much as it does the aesthetics. If it helps, I blame the Anglicans.
  • We Three Kings — It’s the same problem I have with Silent Night and that is too much focus on the physical instead of the spiritual. Dang you, Anglicans!

Honorable

  • O Little Town of Bethlehem by Nat King Cole — It is a classic; with a beautiful melody and great lyrics, it is definitely worth an honorable mention.
  • Before the Skies by Sovereign Grace Music — I absolutely adore this song. The lyrics combine the theology of John 1 and Luke 2 beautifully with a simple yet beautiful melody.
  • Light of the World by Matt Redman — I am actually really sad that I couldn’t fit this into the main list because the theology is so sound and I really do love the melody. I love how the lyrics are basically just straight up the first verses of John 1. If you haven’t heard this one, definitely give it a listen.

The List

10. Hark, the Herald Angels by Rend Collective (2014)

We have to admit, Rend Collective is very talented, and they show it in their cover of what is considered to be by many as the best Christmas carol ever. I love their modern twist on Charles Wesley’s beloved hymn, and they definitely add a more upbeat charm to it that I genuinely enjoy for listening pleasure.

9. Light of the Stable by Selah (2002)

This Christian Christmas song is most definitely the most fun song out of all of the ones that have been or will be mentioned in this post. I just always get a smile when listening to this and I always love admiring the sheer vocal talent that this song has. Now, does this song have a taste of Anglicans on it sometimes? Yes, but I can honestly forgive it just for the musical genius and the fun that I seem to get from this Christian-themed song for the Holidays.

8. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen by Keith & Kristyn Getty (2011)

In my opinion, this is one of the most musically impressive covers of any Christmas song of all time. Keith Getty always adds an amazing Irish flare to all his arrangements of classic hymns or carols, and this is no exception. Kristyn Getty has a voice of an angel and has the uncanny ability to never sing off-key, live or in the recording studio and it’s incredible.

The only minor problem (pun intended) I have with the song is that the melody and lyrics don’t match; if they did, it would easily be a top five. Keith Getty definitely tries to add a bit more joy to the melody, but it still has a bit of gloom. Still, the song is a bit of fun to sing and definitely has great theological depth too.

7. Come and Stand Amazed by Citizens & Saints (2013)

Citizens & Saints‘ songs can sometimes be a hit or a miss, but this one is definitely a hit and I love it. The melody might throw some people off and I get that, but I personally like the modern spin on this old hymn. It’s a good cover for a timeless hymn about God’s reconciliation and His plan of redemption for those whom He loves. Plus, I like a bit of Seattle-style hipster-rock once in a while in my Christmas music so… don’t judge.

6. O Come, All Ye Faithful by Josh Groban (2007)

It is safe to say that everyone knows O Come, All Ye Faithful. For some, it may even be their favorite Christmas carol. I adore the hymn and that is why I love Josh Groban’s cover of this timeless song as it doesn’t divert from the impeccable melody and doesn’t stray from the original lyrics. The vocals, orchestra, organ, and arrangement combine together to bestow such a magnitude that this song more than deserves.

I have a small gripe though about the fact that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a part of the song, but I honestly think that it’s something to get past. If I think atheists should participate in the festivities of Christmas, then surely I must let the heathens join as well… even the Anglicans.

5. Child of Glory by The Modern Post (2014)

Like I said earlier, sometimes I like a bit of Seattle-style hipster-rock for my Christmas music, and The Modern Post is a band that will always deliver. This group always seems to deliver unique original songs that astonish me, and this one is no exception. I love the 3/4 time signature and the distorted guitar solo for the intro and instrumental. The lyrics are also amazing as they focus on how amazing Christ was, though He was in lowly estate as a Child. Dustin Kensrue and his band definitely have a strong reverence for God and it shows in this song.

4. O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is by Paul Gerhardt (1653)

This song is the absolute most underrated Christmas carol and hymn ever! Anyone who has ever heard this knows what I’m talking about, and I’m sure that every believer who has ever heard it would definitely put it in their top 10s because the theology of the lyrics are so theologically packed and the melody is so graceful and elegant that one cannot walk away from the song without at least appreciating it.

I am grateful for Lutheran brothers and sisters who introduced me to this hymn who in their words said was “the Gospel in music at its finest,” and I hope one day it will get greater recognition among Evangelicals, especially in the Reformed circles.

3. He Who Is Mighty by Sovereign Grace Music (2014)

This song, which is based on Mary’s praise to God found in Luke 1 as she says, “He who is mighty has done great things,” (Luke 1:48 ESV) is so heart-wrenching and comforting to a believer. This song draws all your attention away from yourself and the traditions of Christmas and forces you to focus on the work and character of Christ! Who does that anymore in modern Christian music? It’s rare and when you find such songs, it’s incredible.

The song is not in your face, it’s not loud at all and it’s very easy to listen to (aside from the tears that I have to fight back when listening sometimes). The melody is calm and reserved, which is musically genius because it doesn’t get in the way of the profound and deep lyrics. Sovereign Grace, never stop doing what you do!

2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Selah (2002)

This. song. is. just. epic! The words of the classic carol, based on Isaiah 11, is amazing enough, but Selah decided to give the song a new spin on the melody with a Jewish style violin solo and greater complexity and darkness to the melody. This is the only cover of O Come, O Come Emmanuel in which the melody is actually fitting and where the artist seems to understand the depth of the original song, not wishing to desecrate it, but to improve upon it. It has always been a favorite of mine and I hope, after listening to it, it might become yours as well!

1. O Holy Night (Hear the Gospel Story) by Sovereign Grace Music (2014)

O Holy Night is most definitely my absolute favorite Christmas carol ever. The melody and the original lyrics are sublime, but I was blown away when I first heard this cover from Sovereign Grace Music. They revised the lyrics and added new verses, giving my favorite carol, which already had great theology, an even greater Gospel focus and theological depth. I have tremendous respect for Sovereign Grace for coming up with this one and I seriously urge every believer and non-believer to listen to this cover.

And there it is ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, friends and family: my last post from the Christmas Top 10s series and my personal list of favorites of Christian Christmas carols and covers.

I hope that you all might’ve heard of some new songs and that I didn’t upset any Anglican readers. If you want to name some of your favorites or comment on this list, feel free to do so as I enjoy reading responses and emails. I hope that all of you are having a very Merry Christmas and enjoying it with dear ones.

Lastly, I hope you all are dwelling on the grace and love that God showed us on Christmas, by sending His Son into the world, not to condemn it, but “in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17 ESV). Rejoice in the Lord, have a wonderful Christmas and as always…

Soli Deo Gloria.

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