Saturday, December 17, 2016

Top 3 Lesser-Known Christmas Songs (Laurie)

Last week Hannah shared her Top 3 Christmas Carols. I thought it was a fun topic and wanted to do something along similar lines, but as I considered my favorite Christmas songs I kept circling back to songs that aren't typically played on the radio and may not be traditional hymns sung in most churches. So today, I present my Top 3 Lesser-Known Christmas Songs:

3. Joseph's Song

This song has become a tradition at my parents' church, where we typically go for a Christmas Eve service, and I just love it. It's a beautiful way to consider Joseph's perspective in the Christmas story, this ordinary carpenter who took on the role of Jesus' earthly father.

Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours.
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord, for all my life I've been a simple carpenter.
How can I raise a king? How can I raise a king?

This song has become all the more meaningful to me now that I'm a parent. I've held my own babies in my arms, wondering how God could've entrusted me with this tiny life. How much more overwhelming must it have been for Joseph, entrusted with caring for the Son of God?

You can listen to Michael Card singing Joseph's Song here.

2. Mary, Did You Know?

This is probably the most familiar song of the three I've chosen, but I didn't hear it until I was at least a teenager, and it's always stopped me in my tracks. In a similar vein as Joseph's Song, it considers the perspective of Mary on that very first Christmas. What I love most about this song is how it highlights the incredible mystery of Jesus as both man and God. He was a helpless newborn, cradled in his mother's arms, yet his very birth was an event that changed the world - God coming to earth and taking on human form.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping child you're holding is the great "I am."

I get chills just reading the lyrics, then pair it with the haunting melody and it creates one of the most powerful, moving Christmas songs ever written.

My favorite version of Mary, Did You Know? is by Pentatonix - I've watched their video over and over and tear up pretty much every time. See it here.

1. Night of Silence

I don't know if I've mentioned on this blog before that I love to sing. I was in church choirs starting in grade school up until my first son was born, when I suddenly had other, more pressing obligations during church services :) In my middle school / high school church choir, we sang Night of Silence every year on Christmas Eve, and it was always the song I most looked forward to. It was written to be sung along with Silent Night, another one of my favorite Christmas songs, but there was something about the lyrics and the ebbs and flows of the melody that made singing Night of Silence an especially memorable experience for me.

Voice in the distance, call in the night
On wind you enfold us, you speak of the light
Gentle on the ear, you whisper, softly
Rumors of a dawn so embracing
Breathless love awaits darkened souls
Soon will we know of the morning

 I love that the words aren't as directly about the child and animals in the manger but instead reflect the dark, restless state of mankind, in such need of a Savior.

I found a video of this song performed by the St. Olaf Choir, which is perfect since St. Olaf College happens to be my alma mater :) Watch it here.

Are you familiar with any of these songs? What Christmas songs would make your top 3? Are any of your favorites songs that aren't as well-known?

Thanks for reading!


  1. Love all those pieces! Surprised I don't hear "Joseph's Song" more - the lyrics are so evocative. My daughter sang "Night of Silence" either in high school or college - can't remember which - but I love the arrangement!

    Don't know if I can choose favorites. I love traditional church hymns with brass & big choirs. But then I also love some modern day arrangements. Whiteheart's version of "Little Drummer Boy" is one I have to listen to every year. Casting Crown's "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is a completely new arrangement using Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem. Then everything on Selah's Rose of Bethlehem CD is a favorite. :)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Brenda! I'll have to look up the songs you mentioned, I'm not sure I'm familiar with any of them. So many Christmas songs are repeated over and over again - it's fun to find new favorites!

  2. : ) I love "Joseph's Song" and "Mary Did You Know" but I haven't heard "Night of Silence." Beautiful, Laurie! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Erin! I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)

  3. I've never heard "Night of Silence" before, I'll have to check YouTube to see if I can find an arrangement. And yes, I love Pentatonix (those guys could probably sing the phone book and it'd sound awesome!) ;-D Their "Mary Did You Know" gives me chills.

  4. Duh! Re-read your article and clicked on your link for "Night of Silence" -- beautiful! :-)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jill! I'm glad you found the link for Night of Silence and enjoyed it :) And I agree, everything Pentatonix sings is amazing!

  5. I love Christmas carols and Pentatonix! In the church I grew up in, the choir used to sing Night of Silence with Silent Night. It was beautiful. I love so many Christmas songs, I'm not sure what would be my top 3, but O Come Emmanuel and O Holy Night would probably be in there. Silver Bells also has strong memories for me and is really pretty. Great post, Laurie! And nice topic, Hannah!


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