My 3 Favorite Christmas Songs

I’m not blogging as much these days; believe me, I’ve noticed. I feel the words escaping me the longer I sit here, and I find myself eager to ditch my computer and let this blinking cursor flash all Christmas Day.

Perhaps the new year will bring new inspiration for blogging, like old times. But for now, I can only offer you my three favorite Christmas songs. Maybe I’ll write about each one? I’m gonna wing this post and see what comes out.

These three songs strike the strongest chords in me, Christmas after Christmas, reminding me of hope and joy when I need it most.

I hope they remind you, too.

Christmas Bells Toll

Photo courtesy lynns, Creative Commons.

#3: “Gloria”

This zippy song of trumpets and choirs reminds me of the triumph in Christmas. Of God becoming man and even the mountains echoing the glory of it all — quietly at first, and then bolder and louder.

Plus, Michael W. Smith. Classic.

#2: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem in 1863 that has since been translated into music many times over. Longfellow’s words flow from the aftermath of his wife’s death in a fire.

And in despair I bowed my head

There is no peace on earth, I said.

But though he aches, he cannot escape the sound of Christmas bells reminding him of the peace that came to earth long ago. My favorite rendition of this poem-turned-song comes from Casting Crowns; the escalating bridge especially unbinds my own impatience and hope.

These bells are bells of deliverance, not defeat. And they are rings I need to hear every Christmas.

Then rang the bells more loud and deep

God is not dead, nor does He sleep

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men.

#1: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

My friend and fellow bliggety-blogger, Joseph Craven, recently wrote of one song’s haunting holiday allure, and it just so happens to be my favorite Christmas hymn as well. He puts the chorus perfectly: “the word ‘Rejoice!’ is proclaimed in perhaps the most unenthusiastic chord one could find, hinting at the longing, the expectation, and the desire for something greater to arrive. To return.”

Indeed, it is a song drenched in gloom and melancholy yet fiercely hopeful all the same.

Without delving into a separate post of dramatics, I’ll just state how often I’ve felt “captive” in this life — struggles, loss, discontent. A hunger for tomorrow; a yearning for new light.

And so I plead for Emmanuel to come. He is already here, yes, but still I plead for Him to come again and again, nighttime after morningtide, week after week, month after month, Christmas after Christmas, rescuing me, rescuing all of us from this present darkness.

And unenthusiastic as my circumstances may indeed make me, I rejoice. Because whether I feel it or see it or hear those Christmas bells, I know He is here. He is Emmanuel. God with us.

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Bid thou our sad divisions cease

And be thyself our king of peace

Rejoice / Rejoice


Merry Christmas, my wanderers! What’s your favorite Christmas song?

  • “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is my favorite, too. It’s one of the few Christmas songs to acknowledge that Christ didn’t come out of nowhere, but fulfilled centuries of longing for a Messiah. For me, as I blunder through a broken world, this song is deeply comforting.

  • Jeremy

    Loving the Pentatonix remakes of some of the great Christmas songs. Really good. Here’s one: