Holidays: Top Ten Christmas Carols


Mangers and Carols

For millennia, people have celebrated the Winter Solstice, and Christians have celebrated the coming of their King by singing Christmas songs. Born on the plains in a stable in Bethlehem, God came down in the most vulnerable form possible: a babe. This was so remarkable and unexpected that God’s own chosen had not grasped it.

Yet God came down and a host of angels with Him, and they appeared to the lowliest, the shepherds alone in the fields. This fact is so unimaginable that since this time songs have been written about the event. And so it has passed down through the generations to sing these Christmas carols. 

One of the best things about a month-long build up to Christmas is the festive music and carols. Here  are the top ten Christmas songs of traditional nature starting from number ten:

10– Away in a Manger – 

The first two verses were first published in 1885, in Philadelphia at an Evangelical church. For a long time it has been one of people’s choice.

9– O Little Town of Bethlehem –

Also written in Philadelphia a couple of decades before Away in the Manger, this Christmas song was performed in a local Episcopal church. Inspired by his visit to Bethlehem, Phillips Brooks wrote this as a poem a couple of years later in 1867, which later became this song.

8- Silent Night – 

The lyrics of this carol were written in 1816 by Josef Mohr. Two years later Franz X. Gruber composed the music. Both were Austrians. The song was introduced at Christmas in 1818. 

7- Joy to the World – 

Written by Isaac Watts in 1719, this song has been published more than any other Christmas carol. Watts derived the lyrics from Psalm 98 with the idea of Christ’s return rather than Christmas. In 1839 Lowell Mason put a melody to it.

6- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – 

This song was also composed as a poem by one of America’s great poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The lyrics were written on Christmas in 1864 and it was titled, Christmas Bellsstainangels-hazellockwood

5- We Three Kings – 

In 1857 Rev. John Henry Hopkings penned this carol. It was originally written for New York’s General Theological Seminary and their pageant at Christmas time. 

4- What Child is This – 

Once called The Manger Throne, this song was written in 1865 by an Englishman, William Chatterton Dix. Dix wrote over 40 hymns in his life.

3- Little Drummer Boy –

Based on a traditional carol from Czechoslovakia, this song was once called Carol of the Drum. Written not long ago, Katherine K. Davis wrote this song in 1941.

2- O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Perhaps one of the oldest carols sung today, this piece was an advent hymn written as far back as the 12th century in medieval Rome for the Catholic church.

1- O Holy Night – 

One of the most difficult carols to sing, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure of France was commissioned to write this song for Christmas Mass in 1847. He was inspired by the Gospel of Luke’stelling of the birth of Christ. The poet needed the assistance of his friend, Adolphe-Charles Adam, to compose the music. Adam was world-renowned for his work. A wonderful piece of trivia regarding the Christmas carol, on Christmas Eve 1906 one Reginal Fessenden generated a microphone over wires and airwaves and spoke into it. He read part of the Gospel of Luke and then broke out into song, singing O Holy Night. This song was the first song in history to be broadcast.

There are plenty of really meaningful Christmas songs that could be chosen to be in the Top Ten, but the Christmas songs in the Top Ten move me every time I hear them. They are powerful, along with their message.

If you are familiar with any of these Christmas carols, then perhaps you will agree with the selection. If you haven’t heard of all these songs, then you are in for a treat should you give them a listen. It’s a time of year to look forward to and worth celebrating in song. Of course, Jesus was born at the end of September or early October, not during winter or on December 25th. There is no reason to keep these beautiful carols from being sung all throughout the year. If we are going to celebrate the birth of Jesus, there is no need to narrow it down and squeeze it into a four-week period! Celebrate all year! 

Written by Jori Sams

Inspirational Blog

Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun… 

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