Now that Thanksgiving is over, ‘tis (finally!) the season for Christmas music! You’ve been looking forward to this for weeks or even months, but when you finally turn on the Christmas radio station, the most popular songs seem to be about reindeer or romance, not Jesus Christ.
Not to worry. When you’re done listening to the fun songs and want something more worshipful, there are plenty of options besides those you sing from the hymnbook every year at church. Here are 10 of our favorites—if you’re looking for ones for children to sing, the most kid-friendly ones are in red print. Search these hymns on YouTube or other sites and enjoy!
- “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rossetti
This beautiful poem about Christ’s birth and what we can give him has been set to several different tunes, including those by Gustav Holst and Harold Darke. Here is one rendition by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
- “Star Bright”(Estrella de Luz) by Lorin F. Wheelright
LDS composer Lorin Wheelright wrote a simple and sweet description of the star over Jesus’ manger. The song is great for children, includes the option of Spanish lyrics, and even has an arrangement with accompaniment for guitar! Listen to this beautiful song as performed at a Relief Society Christmas program.
- “The Virgin’s Slumber Song” by Max Reger
Originally set to German words about Joseph, Max Reger’s tune was eventually paired with Edward Teschemacher’s lyrics about the baby Jesus slumbering in his mother’s arms. You can hear an older recording by Mario Lanza here.
- “O Holy Night” (Cantique de Noël) by Adolphe Adam
The original version of this beloved Christmas song came from a French poem by Placide Cappeau. We don’t know who wrote the English translation, but we know we love to hear the stunning celebration of Christ’s mission. The Mormon Tablernacle Choir has performed many versions of this song. Here is just one.
- “Il est Né, le Divin Enfant” (He is Born, the Heavenly Child)
Besides being so old that no one knows its origins, this French carol (with several English translations available) has lyrics that praise Jesus and a surprisingly upbeat tune. Children will love singing and maybe even bouncing along! Concert Choirs often sing this song as well. Here is one group performing this classic hymn.
- “Still, Still, Still” by Georg Götsch
This Austrian carol and lullaby stems from a folk tune and originally German lyrics. Various English translations describe the peace of the scene just after Jesus’ birth. Enjoy this version performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
- “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
This favorite has a fascinating history. Its lyrics were translated from an 8th-century Latin text, and the tune most often associated with the words was used in religious processionals in the 15th century. It beautifully describes the hope of those awaiting Christ’s birth. BYU Vocal Point performs a modern version of this ancient hymn.
- “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” by Edith Margaret Gellibrand Reed
This song started as a traditional Polish carol and has since been translated into English. LDS children will recognize the tune from the Primary song called “Stars Were Gleaming.” Enjoy this touching video from The Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring this song.
- “Go Tell It on the Mountain” by John Wesley Work, Jr.
Who doesn’t love an African-American spiritual? Don’t let the urge to dance fool you—the lyrics are a soulful reminder of our chance to share the good news “that Jesus Christ is born!” Audra McDonald sings this hymn with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
- “Candlelight Carol” by John Rutter
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir often sings this hymn that explores the idea of light in the scene of Jesus’ nativity. Its gentle and ponderous melody is beloved in the hearts of millions. Here is a beautiful performance by the Exultate Chamber Choir & Orchestra.
Are you already itching to listen to all of these hymns and more? Tell us in the comments which Christmas hymn is your favorite, and enjoy the lovely music this season!