25 Christmas Hymns to Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ

We hope you enjoy these wonderful performances of the best Christmas hymns of all time. Be inspired by the power of music to rejoice and give thanks for our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Updated Dec 07, 2023
25 Christmas Hymns to Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ

Celebrate this holiday season with 25 of the best Christmas hymns to prepare your heart for the birth of Jesus Christ! Rejoice in the arrival of the Messiah as prophecied in the Old Testament, saving us from death and sin.

As December arrives, the Christmas season ushers in a unique sense of warmth, joy, and reflection. It's that special time of year when we gather with loved ones, exchange gifts, and celebrate the birth of our Savior. Amidst the twinkling lights, festive decorations, and heartwarming nativity scenes, there's one cherished tradition that truly captures the essence of the season—singing beautiful Christmas hymns. These hymns are not just songs; they are lyrical expressions deeply rooted in Scripture, evoking a profound sense of wonder and devotion.

Whether you're seeking inspiration for your church's Christmas service or simply looking to infuse your home with the spirit of Christmas, this list of Christmas hymns will provide a heartwarming melody to sing along with. Listen to these beloved songs through the Advent season in joyful anticipation of Christ's birth and the fellowship of Christmas. Also, take time to thank God with Christmas prayers and refresh your knowledge of the Christmas Bible story.

"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." ~ 2 Corinthians 13:11

We hope you enjoy these wonderful performances of the best Christmas hymns and songs of all time. 

Top 25 Heartwarming Christmas Hymns

Christmas hymns are songs of praise and worship to God that are specifically written for the Christmas season. They are typically sung in church services, but they can also be heard in homes, schools, and other public places. Christmas hymns are often based on biblical stories and themes, and they often express the joy, peace, and hope that Christians associate with the birth of Jesus Christ.

While they're often sung in church services, you'll also hear them in homes, schools, and even in shopping malls. Christmas hymns are filled with stories and themes from the Bible, like the angels announcing Jesus's birth, the humble manger scene, and the wise men's journey. When we sing these hymns, we're not just making music; we're expressing our joy, peace, and hope in celebrating the birth of Jesus. So, whether you're at a church service or cozy by the fireplace at home, let the beauty of Christmas hymns fill your heart with the true spirit of the season.

Away in a Manger

"Away in a Manger" is a Christmas carol first written in the late nineteenth century and used broadly throughout the English-speaking world. This hymn centers around the adoration of newborn baby Jesus as he lays in a manger. The lyrics call out for Jesus to "be near me" and "bless all the dear children." 

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head;
the stars in the heavens looked down where He lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
and stay by my side until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

This beautiful hymn was written by Edmund Sears in 1849. It is a gentle and reflective meditation on the birth of Jesus Christ, capturing the peace and serenity of that holy night.

It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven's all-gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.

"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is a hymn and Christmas carol written by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. Sears' lyrics are most regularly set to "Noel," modified by Arthur Sullivan from an English melody, or to "Carol," arranged by Richard Storrs Willis. This hymn centers around the theme of angelic singers sharing the message of "Peace on earth, good will to men." Discover the lyrics and story of this renowned hymn at Godtube.com.

The First Noel

"The First Noel," alternatively spelled as "The First Noël," stands as a beloved and timeless English Christmas hymn, its origins dating back to the Middle Ages. The word "Noel" used in the hymn is an intriguing piece of linguistic history. In Early Modern English, "Noel" served as a synonym for "Christmas," shedding light on the linguistic evolution of the holiday's name.

This enchanting carol carries with it a sense of history and tradition, evoking images of candlelit chapels and voices joined in melodic celebration as it continues to enchant generations with its evocative lyrics and beautiful melody. Delve into the layers of history and meaning that make "The First Noel" a cherished part of the Christmas season's musical tapestry, transcending time to connect us with the rich heritage of yuletide festivities.

The first Noel the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter's night that was so deep. 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel. 

O Little Town of Bethlehem

This beloved hymn was written by Phillips Brooks in 1868. It is a meditation on the humble beginnings of Jesus Christ, and it is a reminder that God can come to us in the most unexpected places.

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

The lyrics refer to the town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born of Mary. This hymn describes the setting of Christ's birth and the wondrous gift that would be his life, teachings, and sacrifice.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is a Christian hymn for Advent and Christmas written by John Mason Neale. Listen to a beautiful traditional version of this renowned hymn:

O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

This glorious hymn calls upon various divine bodies to give wisdom, salvation, victory, and safety, among other requests.

Joy to the World

The lyrics of the hymn "Joy to the World" are by English writer Isaac Watts, inspired by Psalm 98, 96:11-12 and Genesis 3:17-18. As of the late 20th century, "Joy to the World" was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America. This hymn is a "joyous" celebration of the sovereignty of God and the gift of Jesus. 

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room,
and heav'n and nature sing,
and heav'n and nature sing,
and heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

O Come All Ye Faithful

This Latin hymn was written in the 11th or 12th century. It is a call to worship the newborn king, Jesus Christ, and it is a popular choice for Advent and Christmas Eve services.

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of Angels:
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

This popular Christmas Hymn harkens to the biblical story of the birth of Christ. It is considered a reference to the shepherds, after hearing the angels singing, coming to Bethlehem to adore their new-born savior. Today, this hymn signifies and celebrates our coming together in worship to adore the loving blessing of Jesus as He sacrificed himself for our salvation.

Rejoice in the birth of Christ with a FREE 25 Days to a Joyful Christmas Prayer Guide!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

There's nothing better than hearing a beautiful hymn right around Christmas time. 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' is an all-time classic, and it's been performed by numerous different artists over the years from a variety of genres. Today, we're learning more about this powerful Christmas hymn and the story behind its origins. There's truly nothing like singing these words with all your heart to our Father in Heaven above. Amen!

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise

Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

This triumphant hymn was written by Charles Wesley in 1739. It is a celebration of the angel's proclamation of the birth of Jesus Christ, and it is a popular choice for Christmas services.

In the Bleak Mid-Winter

"In the Bleak Midwinter" is a popular Christmas carol that was written by Christina Rossetti in the 19th century. Listen to the popular version by Gustav Holst in the video below:

Its lyrics poetically describe the birth of Jesus and the scene of His nativity. In verse one, Rossetti describes the physical circumstances of the Incarnation in Bethlehem. In verse two, Rossetti contrasts Christ's first and second coming.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

"God Rest You Merry Gentlemen" is a traditional English Christmas carol. It is also known as "Tidings of Comfort and Joy," the phrase that ends each stanza of the lyrics. Listen to a beautiful performance of this Christmas hymn by the family band The Petersens below!

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

This carol is an affirmation of the birth and salvation of Christ, recounting His nativity event and the love of God.

Silent Night

"Silent Night" is a well-known Christmas hymn with lyrics written by Joseph Mohr in 1816. We included another great performance by The Petersens for this famous Christmas hymn. Enjoy!

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
’round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

Inspired by the Christmas story of Jesus' birth, Mohr wrote this hymn to celebrate the anticipation of the arrival of the newborn savior. Discover the lyrics and story of "Silent Night" on Godtube.com.

O Holy Night

There's truly nothing better than hearing an old-fashioned Christmas song right around the holidays. One of those classic hymns is 'O Holy Night.' It brings up such great memories and thoughts of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It was truly a glorious night when Jesus was born. The angels rejoiced, and the whole world received their King. God granted us eternal salvation when He sent His Son to die for our sins.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

 Now that I know the story behind this powerful hymn, I'm even more in awe of this song.

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" by Bing Crosby (1963)

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a carol composed in October 1962, with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. The pair, married at the time, created this carol as an appeal for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This carol's lyrics recall the birth of Jesus and the events surrounding the traditional Christmas story.

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
do you know what I know
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere,
listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

This beautiful and moving song is a perfect reflection of the peace and tranquility of the Christmas season. Crosby's gentle vocals and the heartwarming lyrics make it a truly special listen.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

This classic hymn by Charles Wesley is a popular Christmas and Advent song that praises the coming of Jesus Christ. Wesley wrote "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" with the intent for people to remember Advent and Christmas as commemorating the Nativity of Jesus and preparing for the Second Coming.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Go Tell It On the Mountain

"Go Tell It on the Mountain" is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865, that has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. It is considered a Christmas hymn carol l because its lyrics celebrate the Nativity of Jesus.

Go, tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born.

The Little Drummer Boy

"The Little Drummer Boy" is a beloved Christmas carol written by American composer Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. First recorded in 1951 by the Trapp Family Singers, it gained immense popularity with the 1958 rendition by the Harry Simeone Chorale. The song tells the story of a poor young boy summoned by the Magi to the Nativity of Jesus. Lacking a gift for the Infant Christ, he plays his drum, earning a smile from the newborn and Mary, who favored his heartfelt offering.

Coventry Carol

The "Coventry Carol" is an English Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The song originates from an English Christmas play about the Bible story of Jesus' birth. Find the lyrics of this hymn, plus the background story, at Godtube.com.

We Three Kings of Orient Are

John Henry Hopkins Jr., then pastor of Christ Episcopal Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, crafted "We Three Kings" for a Christmas pageant in New York City. This enduring Christmas carol, with numerous renditions, remains beloved. Hopkins structured the hymn so that three male voices, like the three kings, would each sing a verse, while the first and last verses were sung collectively as "verses of praise." Although originally designed as solos for the Magi, modern renditions typically omit their individual parts, focusing on the admiration of the Star of Bethlehem's majesty.

We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star. 

O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light. 

Sussex Carol

First composed in 1684, ‘Sussex Carol’ earned its name when Ralph Vaughan Williams set the text to music in the late 1800s after he heard it being sung near Sussex.

Angels We Have Heard on High

"Angels We Have Heard on High" is a Christmas carol with lyrics written by James Chadwick to the music of a French song called Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes. While the music is identical to the original hymn, Chadwick's lyrics are unique but obviously heavily inspired and, in parts, a close translation. The hymn's theme is the birth of Jesus Christ, narrated in the Gospel of Luke, particularly the moment in which shepherds outside Bethlehem are visited by an abundance of angels singing and praising the newborn child.

Angels we have heard on high,
sweetly singing o'er the plains,
and the mountains in reply
echoing their joyous strains:

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Candlelight Carol

John Rutter’s music is always popular during the Christmas season, and after hearing the beautiful melodies of the Candlelight Carol, you'll know why.

7 Beloved Christmas Songs

Here are seven of the most popular and beloved Christmas songs of all time:

"White Christmas" by Bing Crosby (1942):

This iconic song captures the magic of a snowy Christmas perfectly. Crosby's smooth vocals and the dreamy melody make it a truly heartwarming listen.

"The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) by Nat King Cole (1946)

This nostalgic tune is a perfect way to wind down and relax during the holidays. The warm, inviting sound of the orchestra and Cole's velvety vocals make it a timeless classic.

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Andy Williams (1963)

This upbeat and cheerful song perfectly captures the excitement and joy of the holiday season. Williams's warm vocals and the festive arrangement make it a true classic.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Judy Garland (1944)

This classic ballad is a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas – love, peace, and hope. Garland's heartfelt vocals and poignant lyrics make it a truly special song.

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" (1943)

This classic ballad is a poignant reminder of the importance of family and home during the holiday season. Bing Crosby's heartfelt vocals and the touching lyrics make it a truly special listen.

"Feliz Navidad" by José Feliciano (1970)

This infectious Latin Christmas song is a favorite among many. Feliciano's playful vocals and the catchy melody make it a fun and festive addition to any holiday playlist.

"Carol of the Bells" (1914)

This traditional carol is a beautiful and festive addition to any holiday playlist. The soaring melody and the intricate harmonies make it a truly special song.

These are just a few of the many great Christmas songs out there. With so many choices, you're sure to find the perfect ones to make your holiday season merry and bright.

Find more popular hymns and carols from Godtube with song lyrics and the stories of the authors.

Photo by © Getty Images/Boonyachoat

Christianity.com's editorial staff is a team of writers with a background in the Christian faith and writing experience. We work to create relevant, inspiring content for our audience and update timely articles as necessary.

This article is part of our larger Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ!

What Is Advent: Definition & Meaning Behind Christmas Tradition
Advent Bible Verses
Advent Readings
Advent Wreath and Candles Meaning and Symbolism
Advent Prayers

Advent Week 1: The Candle of Hope ~ First Sunday of Advent Prayers and Readings
Advent Week 2: The Candle of Peace ~ Second Sunday of Advent Prayers and Readings
Advent Week 3: The Candle of Joy ~ Third Sunday of Advent Prayers and Readings
Advent Week 4: The Candle of Love ~ Fourth Sunday of Advent Prayers and Readings


Christianity / Life / Holidays / 25 Christmas Hymns to Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ