Christmas Carols

Christmas carolsDuring Advent, I am preaching a worship series entitled Christmas Carols. We are exploring the meaning of four hymns celebrating Christ’s birth.

Many songs associated with the holiday season actually have nothing to do with Christmas at all, including Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, Sleigh Ride, Winter Wonderland, We Wish you a Merry Christmas, and Grandma Got Ran over by a Reindeer.

During sermon preparation, I actually found a web site entitled Top Ten Christmas Songs for Atheists.

Yeah, I’ll let you ponder the irony of the title for a moment.

CHRISTmas carols, on the other hand, focus on the birth of Jesus Christ.

So one day in the midst of sermon-writer’s-block, I asked myself the question, “Self, what is your favorite Christmas carol?” Then I flipped through a hymnal to make my selection.

After some internal debate, I finally chose What Child is This. William Dix published the lyrics in 1865. The verses express wonder and awe that the helpless babe of Bethlehem is also Christ the King. The hymn invites all of creation to worship the son of Mary.

Dix set the words to a 16th century English melody title Greensleeves.  The 87.87 meter tune with refrain musically reflects the call and response of the words. What child is this? This, this is Christ the King!

So . . .

What’s your favorite carol? And why?

10 thoughts on “Christmas Carols

    • You exceeded my knowledge quickly with this question. According to the Internet (and therefore, it MUST be true), Henry VIII is the composer of the tune for Anne Boleyn; however, many scholars question the accuracy of this claim. Regardless, Anne lost her head over the tune. 🙂


  1. I love “Silent Night,” maybe because of the simple tune and lyrics that urge the deep emotions of that wondrous night! During the Christmas Eve church service, when we sing from the third verse “Son of God, love’s pure light” and raise our candles, I rarely can sing at all! What a time of pure worship! With a more worldly view, have you seen all of the versions of “Silent Night?” Briefly scan for many different translations. From some of them, I learned that Jesus had curly hair and laughed while he silently slept. We love to make Him more human, don’t we? That’s okay. He was. And now, He is completely divine. Or, is He? Have you seen Him today?


  2. “What Child Is This” also holds a special place in my memory as it was the first Christmas song I learned to play in a classical finger style on guitar (I wish I could still play it!). However, my favorite song for Christmas is one most people don’t think of when they think of Christmas carols: “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent.” The words and haunting melody conjure up a scene similar to those of incredible worship and awe described in Revelation, but this time with the setting being the rending and blending of Heaven and Earth into one unfathomable scene where not just all eyes, but every part of everyone’s being, is fully focused on the “Lord of Lords in human vesture!”


  3. Once in Royal David’s City, especially the second stanza:
    And our eyes at last shall see him,
    Through his own redeeming love;
    For that child so dear and gentle
    Is our Lord in heav’n above,
    And he leads his children on
    To the place where he is gone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s