Saturday, December 10, 2016

Top 3 Christmas Carols (Hannah)

Welcome back to Lands Uncharted!  It's Christmas time and my family has been listening to every Christmas song from our playlists, Pandora, Amazon Music, and of course the radio. While my siblings love many of the new songs and modern covers of old classics, I prefer to stick to the traditional carols. I had a difficult time narrowing it down to three choices, though, so I have several honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

- We Three Kings

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the mysterious, middle eastern sound of this piece.  It chronicles the journey of the wise men as they came to see Jesus and ties in very well to the spirit of the season: Just like them, we should be seeking our King to offer Him the best of what we have.

- Carol of the Bells

After dancing to this for one ballet performance, playing it on the piano, and singing it in a wonderful choir last year, I am very familiar with this song.  It's the only one on my list that is not specifically related to Christ's birth, but it is such a neat song.  I couldn't leave it off.

- Angels We Have Heard on High

This is another one of my songs from ballet, and it never fails to make me excited for Christmas.  Just imagining angels heralding the birth of the Messiah puts me in the mood for Christmas.  "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" is another closely related one that falls into the same category.

- Where's the Line to See Jesus?

Even though I don't usually like new Christmas songs, this one in particular is a fun one with a poignant message.

Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday, 
Why don't we see Him more?

Where's the line to see Jesus?
He was born for me
Santa Claus brought me presents
But Christ gave His life for me.

The thing I hate most about Christmas is how much it has come to focus on presents, Santa, and some vague, generic "Christmas spirit."  The God of the universe came to become a human, placed Himself under humanity's curse, doomed Himself to suffer and die, all so that we could be rescued from our own rebellion and sin.  That's the real reason we celebrate, and all too often we forget to remember the true magnitude of this message.

Top 3

3. What Child is This?

What Child is this, Who laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?...

...The King of Kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary

You'll probably notice that all three of my favorite songs have a slow, majestic, worshipful mood to them.  I love the melody of this song.  It was originally written to accompany the old song "Greensleeves," which is decidedly less deep and meaningful.  (It was a love ballad.)  The words remind us that during the Christmas season and all year round, we must remember to worship Christ for who He is.

2. O Holy Night

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine!

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices..."  This line in essence sums up the message of Christmas.  Without Christ, the world was a dark, hopeless, cursed place.  When the Savior entered the world, suddenly there was hope for salvation and eternal life in a perfect place filled with God's glory.

1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Originally written in Latin as "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel," this song combines the haunting style of "We Three Kings" with the beautiful theological meaning from classic hymns.  My favorite version is done by Enya in her album "And Winter Came," which covers both the Latin version and its English translation.  Whichever version you choose, just listen to the words as they soar through the music - I find it impossible not to listen to this song and marvel at my God.


What are your favorite Christmas carols?  Do any have special meanings for you?

~ Hannah


  1. Great post, Hannah! You've chosen some wonderful hymns, here - I tend to like the slow, reflective songs as well. But I think I'll save sharing my favorites for my post next week :)

  2. I'm excited to hear your thoughts! Thanks for the comment! :D

  3. What a timely post, Hannah! Just finished with our annual Christmas concert and "Oh Holy Night" by an amazing soprano received a standing ovation. It captures the essence of what Christmas should mean for sure. I also would include as one of my favorites..."Mary Did You Know?" And, of course, the old standard "Silent Night" always presents the birth of Christ in a beautiful way. I enjoyed reading about your favorites!

  4. This is such a fun post. I really love all the songs you mentioned, although I've not heard "Where's the Line to See Jesus?"

    Although, like you, I tend to prefer traditional carols, one newer song I like is "Christmas Has Its Cradle." It juxtaposes Christ's birth with his crucifixion.

    "Christmas has its cradle
    Where a baby cried.
    Did the lantern's shadow
    Show him crucified?
    Did his father warn him
    None would grant him room
    Save in the Christmas cradle
    And in the Easter tomb?"

    On a more traditional note, I love Silent Night/Stille Nacht, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. All traditional carols, really. :)

    Oh, and your mention of Enya made me really happy. I discovered her via Pandora a few months ago and quickly fell in love with her singing voice. I haven't heard her version of O Come, but I will have to look it up.

    Finally, I meant to say this earlier, but thank you so much for the shoutouts in your last couple NaNo posts!


  5. Nice topic, Hannah! I also love O Little Town of Bethlehem.


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