It’s that time of year again: when you either love or hate listening to the radio. That’s right, it’s Christmas song season, when all those secular and religious songs come blaring at you the day after Thanksgiving and end immediately after Christmas dinner.
I love all sorts of Christmas songs. Christian hymns, modern pop songs, choral hits. I don’t mind if a song wants to tell me about Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, or about angelic hosts heard on high; they both have their place among our enjoyment of the Advent and Christmas season. (During Mass, however, song selection is a totally different story.)
While most of us have heard of Christmas songs by Mariah Carey and Nat King Cole, I wanted to highlight a few songs by Christian artists that I think are excellent and worthy of your attention. Now sit back, grab a candy cane and some hot chocolate, and take a listen to some of my Christmas favorites.
- “Winter Wonderland” by Audrey Assad
- “Little Drummer Boy” by Jars of Clay
- “Born That We May Have Life” by Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher
- “Christmastime” by Michael W. Smith</a
- “Winter Snow” by Audrey Assad
- “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant
- “12 Days of Christmas” by Relient K
- “O Holy Night” by Chris Tomlin
- “Silent Night (Emmanuel)” by Matt Maher
- “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Audrey Assad
“Winter Wonderland” by Audrey Assad
If you live in an area where it snows, you know that winter can be a beautiful and fun time of year. “Winter Wonderland” by Audrey Assad does just that: it brings out the beauty and fun of the season. Any fans of Imogen Heap will be pleasantly surprised by Audrey’s vocal layering. Along with different rhythmic sound effects, Audrey perfectly accents pop-iness and spontaneity of the song to make this one of the most dynamic and interesting Christmas songs I’ve ever heard.
“Little Drummer Boy” by Jars of Clay
A true 90s classic from this veteran Christian band. Jars of Clay does away with the traditional snare drum march that most versions employ, opting for more a complex rhythm. Acoustic guitar really drives the song, though, in true early contemporary Christian style. If you feel like rocking out with that little drummer boy, this is the version for you’ll want in your iPod.
“Born That We May Have Life” by Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher
This original song by Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher fits the model we’ve come to expect from Tomlin: singable melodies, simple lyrics, and catchy hooks. What makes this song different, though, is its attention to salvation history. Rather than getting caught up in a manger full of animals on a starry night, the song focuses on the Incarnation and Resurrection. Don’t be fooled, however; it’s fun and joyful, with a dynamic gospel choir backing up Chris. If you’re tired of all the typical Christmas songs, make sure to check this song.