10 Awe-inspiring Christmas Hymns for Your Playlist

violin resting on sheet music for hymn Psalm 95

During the Christmas season, many congregations may be heard belting out carols in honor of the Savior. But Christmas hymns also have a place outside of the church. They belong in our homes, and not just at Christmas.

What Is A Christmas Hymn?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a hymn as a religious song or poem of praise to God. Christmas hymns give glory and praise to God specifically as it relates to the birth of His Son.

They acknowledge the birth of the Savior and how remarkable a gift it was to humanity.

Christmas hymns speak of the love our Heavenly Father has for us and remind us why we ought to love Him too.

3 Reasons to Listen to Christmas Hymns

If your church has a hymnal, you may have noticed that there are some songs in that book that you have never heard. Some of these songs may even be Christmas hymns.

1. Hymns prepare our hearts for worship. Paul told the believers at Ephesus and Corinth to include hymns in their daily dialogue.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19 KJV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16 KJV

Hymns are spiritual songs and the lyrics usually help to remind us why God is worthy of our praise. Christmas hymns focus on the miracle of Jesus’ birth which reminds us why we worship Him.

2. Hymns impart spiritual truths. Have you ever paused to consider how deep some of the hymns you sing are? Like, seriously.  Hymns usually have a theme such a the faithfulness of God or the wonders of His love.

If you meditate on the words, you will discover nuggets of truth. Christmas hymns teach, or remind us, of important truths about Jesus.

3. Hymns give voice to your praise. Have you ever listened to a hymn that perfectly expressed how you felt about God? I have. Yet I know if I had tried to find the words to articulate how I felt, I would never be able to do is quite so well as the songwriter.

Christmas hymns give you the melody and words to express how you feel about the gift of salvation. They verbalize the cries of your heart when you think of your Creator who came to earth in order to die for your sins.

That being said, not all hymns are created equal. I’d like to share my favorite Christmas hymns with you.

My Top 10 Christmas Hymns

There are lots of traditional Christmas hymns and I’m sure some of them resonate with you more than others. The Christmas hymns on this list are some that I really enjoy (arranged in no particular order).

1. Go Tell It On the Mountain American Negro Spiritual adapted by John W. Work

This Christmas hymn began as an American Negro Spiritual and tells the story about the birth of Jesus. What I love about this hymn is the encouragement of the chorus.

Go, tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born

The joy about the birth of Jesus is contagious and you can’t help getting excited too.

10 Awe-inspiring Christmas Hymns for Your Playlist
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2. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing by Charles Wesley

Humans were created to worship and glorify God. The Bible tells us that God inhabits our praise (Psalm 22:3). Can you imagine how amazing it must have been to sit on that hillside and hearing the angels sing praises to God?

It must have been awesome to be a witness of that moment and this song brings that image front and center.

The third stanza uses two different names for Jesus and reminds us of the benefits we receive because He left heaven and came to die for our sins.

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,

born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth. 

3. Joy to the World by Isaac Watts

This is another traditional Christmas hymn that is filled with joy. When the devil was cast to the earth, those in heaven rejoiced but felt pity for the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 12:12).

We had reasons to be mournful, the devil has an agenda to destroy humanity. But with the birth of Christ, we once again have a reason to rejoice.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

We have a new ruler, One who governs with truth, grace, and love. And so we sing joy to the world.

4. O Come, All Ye Faithful Latin song by John Francis Wade translated by Frederick Oakeley

This Christmas hymn is an invitation to those who are faithful to God to come and give glory to His Son. In some ways, this hymn is a reminder that though Christ died for all humanity, not everyone acknowledges Him as the Son of God.

Christ died for everyone but there are some who refuse to give Him the honor and praise that He deserves.

Christmas Hymns Lyrics Printable
Download the free Christmas Hymns Lyrics Printable

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n;
Word of the Father,
begotten, not created.

O come let us adore Him knowing that though He was the Son of God, He was also the Son born of a woman. And because He was, He bridges the gap between God and man.

5. Silent Night, Holy Night by Joseph Mohr translated by John F. Young

This Christmas hymn evokes a sense of reverence. Maybe it’s the repetition of the phrase “silent night, holy night” or it’s the use of words that evoke calming images, but something about this psalm reminds me of Psalm 46:10.

I want to be still and acknowledge the power of God when I hear this particular Christmas hymn.

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light,
radiant, beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!

6. O Holy Night by Placide Cappeau translated by John S. Dwight

Celebrating Christmas should be a reminder that before Christ, we were all hopeless. We needed a Savior and no one on earth was good enough.

But then Jesus came and He made a way where they seemed to be no way. He showed us what true love was all about. He showed us how to love each other and lavishes His amazing love on us even though we don’t deserve it.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

7. Good Christians, Now Rejoice translated by John M. Neale

As Christians, we have reason to rejoice. Our Savior was born! We have hope of eternal life. This Christmas hymn reminds us that we are indeed blessed.

Good Christian friends, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save! 

8. O Little Town of Bethlehem by Phillips Brooks

The tone of this hymn is more contemplative, almost meditative. Yet the reminder is still there that we have hope because God sent His Son to earth to die for our sins.

The final stanza is an invitation for the Lord to make His home in our hearts. And isn’t that just what we need?

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell.
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel.

9.While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Natum Tate

This Christmas hymn puts you on the hillside in the midst of the shepherds. You can almost fear their anxiety and fear when the angel appeared. But the messenger of God was quick to reassure them that he came bearing good news.

This hymn ends with the reminder that God’s favor rests on us.

“All glory be to God on high, 
and to the earth be peace; 
to those on whom his favor rests 
goodwill shall never cease.” 

10. O Come, O Come Emmanuel Translated by John M. Neale

There are so many Messianic prophecies mentioned here that you could easily use this Christmas hymn as the starting point for a Bible study. This hymn focuses on the fact that Jesus is the Son of the Promise. And I love this link to the Zacharias’ prophesy in Luke 2:

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.

Experience the Joy of Christmas Hymns

If you’ve never thought of including Christmas hymns in your family’s holiday celebration, I’ll hope you’ll consider doing it this year.

If you’d like to add any of the songs on this list to that tradition, I’ve created a free printable with the lyrics for you to download. What is your favorite Christmas hymn?

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