The Best Christian Christmas Music to Sing Out Loud This Season

"Joy to the World," indeed.

christian christmas music
Getty ImagesJamie Grill

While songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Holly Jolly Christmas" are fun holiday tunes, they don't exactly celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Don't forget to rejoice with these beautiful pieces of Christian Christmas music, reimagined by popular artists.

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'O Come, O Come Emmanuel'

While the beautiful Pentatonix version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" sounds decidedly trendy, the song is anything but new — the translation actually stems from an ancient 9th-century Latin hymn.

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'What Child Is This'

The lyrics of this song were written by William Chatterton Dix in 1865, but the melody itself is a traditional English folk song you may have heard in other places. It's called "Greensleeves."

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'Mary, Did You Know?'

This performance of "Mary, Did You Know?" by acapella group Voctave is extra special because it features the song's original writer, Mark Lowry.

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'O Come All Ye Faithful'

There's some debate over who authored "Adeste Fideles," the original Latin name of "O Come All Ye Faithful." However, Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, England maintains that it was written in 1751 by John Francis Wade. (The school actually holds the original manuscript.)

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'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'

The song we all know as "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" has evolved over the past 200-something years, and different composers have made their mark on the tune (notably, much of the melody belongs to famed composer Felix Mendelssohn).

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'Silent Night'

The picturesque town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria served as the backdrop when "Silent Night" was written by Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818.

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'Joy to the World'

"Joy to the World" is said to be the most published Christmas hymn in North America. The funny thing? It wasn't originally meant to be an Advent-specific song, or even a song at all. It was published as a poem by Isaac Watts in 1719.

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'Angels We Have Heard on High'

The lyrics of this song (written by James Chadwick in the mid-19th century) contain the Latin phrase "Gloria in excelsis Deo," which is latin for "Glory to God in the highest."

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'O Holy Night'

The lyrics of "O Holy Night" are derived from a French poem called "Minuit, Chrétiens" written by Placide Cappeau. The music was composed by Adolphe Adam, who's also known for the famous ballet Giselle.

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'The First Noel'

There's an air of mystery surrounding "The First Noel" — no one knows who first wrote the classic song, but it's often credited as an English carol originating around the 16th or 17th century (or even earlier).

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'Away in a Manger'

While "Away In A Manger" is often credited to German theologian Martin Luther, hymnologists actually believe it first appeared in the U.S., written by German Lutherans in Pennsylvania.

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'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'

Right alongside "The First Noel," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is one of the earliest carols on record. It's also known as "Tidings of Comfort and Joy," and it's particularly traditional in England, where the carol hails from (probably around the 16th century).

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'Go Tell It on the Mountain'

The original author of "Go Tell It On The Mountain" remains unknown, but it was popularized by John Wesley Work Jr., the first African-American collector of spirituals. He published the song as part of a collection in 1907.

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'Do You Hear What I Hear?'

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a relatively new tune, as far as Christmas songs go. Then-married couple Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker wrote it in 1962 to promote peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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'O Little Town of Bethlehem'

This peaceful song was written in the 1860s by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest who felt inspired by a visit to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.

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