My Favorite Things: Christmas Hymn Edition

Hello! I apologize for the late post, but Christmas prep and after Christmas were chaotic for me, so…. Anyways, since today is the 12th day of Christmas, I thought I would tell you about some of my favorite Christmas hymns. Of course, I am not saying that these are the best Christmas hymns of all time. I’m not sure that I could objectively rate hymns, since many of them are great songs about our Lord, although there are those that contain some problematic theological material or are slightly weaker than others. However, these are not those.

Primarily, this list is of hymns that I enjoy singing every year. There are many hymns that seem to be outside of my vocal range, which makes it difficult for me to find the right zone to sing in (which isn’t really proper music terminology, but I’m not sure how else to say it), but a lot of Christmas hymns are easy for me to sing with comfort.

If you don’t see your favorite hymn on here, tell me what it is in the comments below! After looking up Christmas hymns so that I can make sure I don’t forget anything, I realized that there are a lot that I don’t know. It’s also important to remember that hymns and carols are two different categories. A hymn can be a Christmas carol, but usually not the other way around.

Happy reading!

10. “O Holy Night”

“O Holy Night” is one of the most popular Christmas hymns. It seems like every artist has sung a version, especially if they can hit that super high note. Of course, that’s not really the reason that it’s on this list. “O Holy Night” has some wonderful lyrics that can remind us of the reason for the season.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appears and the soul felt it's worth
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn"

Of course, this is only a piece of this hymn, but isn’t it wonderful? If you can, read or listen to the full version. Brilliant!

9. “The First Noel”

Many of these hymns I can only hear in the voice of Bing Crosby, because my dad would play his Christmas songs every year. I love the chorus, which makes me realize that a lot of my favorite hymn choruses are just one word drawn out or repeated over and over again.

“The First Noel” is about the shepherds and the wise men seeking the newborn King of Israel to praise Him. Of course, the angels sing the first noel, or the first announcement of the birthday of the Lord.

8. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

Listen! The messenger angels sing! Another classic hymn that I’ve listened to since childhood, and it really encapsulates the joy of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I mean, it literally calls for everyone to join the angels in singing about the birth of the King of Heaven and Earth.

7. “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

I’ve always enjoyed this one. The melody is kinda hauntingly beautiful. It’s just. Wonderful. Full of anticipation. And that’s all I have to say.

6. “What Child Is This”

Like the above hymn, this one is slower and less exuberant than some of the other ones, but it offers kind of a peaceful assurance. I especially love the chorus.

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, Haste to bring Him laud [praise],
The babe, the son of Mary.

5. “O Come All Ye Faithful”

“O Come All Ye Faithful” literally has one of my favorite openings, which is, as you’ve probably guessed, “O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.” I also really love hearing the Latin opening, which are the only words I can remember of the Latin version, but, anyways.

It also has an amazing chorus:

O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.

I told you I like repetitive choruses.

4. “Joy to the World”

This hymn is always fun to sing. It’s just jubilant, jumping around on the scale, and the lyrics are easy to follow, at least for the last parts of each verse. Need I say more?

3. “Angels We Have Heard on High”

“Angels We Have Heard on High” is probably the most fun to sing, especially the long, drawn-out gloria’s in the chorus. One of the things that I love about Christmas hymns is that they’re usually one’s I can sing without killing my voice, and I can even sing the chorus without losing a breath which is awesome.

If you haven’t heard this one before, you should definitely give it a listen. Pentatonix did a version of it a few years ago that’s great.

2. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

So, if any hymn is hauntingly beautiful, it’s this one. I love singing it and listening to it, and the lyrics are amazing (especially the chorus). Technically, this song is usually sung as an advent hymn, since most of the lyrics are in anticipation of the coming of the incarnate Lord. But since it’s sung around Christmas time, I had to include it.

Honorable Mentions

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – It’s a good hymn. I love the faster pace and the wonderful chorus. It just didn’t make it to my top ten. Picking your favorite Christmas hymns is hard. There are so many good ones that it’s difficult to pick and rank them

1. “Silent Night”

So, although I am Catholic, I grew up in the Protestant tradition, and one of the things I really loved about the Christmas Eve service was singing “Silent Night,” while holding candles either outside or in the darkened sanctuary. I still love the tune and enjoy hearing the choir and the rest of the congregation singing it during Midnight Mass. It’s so beautiful and peaceful, which is kind of a requirement for a song entitled “Silent Night.”

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