5 Christmas Carols with Seriously Good Theology

Tim Arndt

Christmas is the only time of year you’ll regularly hear excellent Christian theology broadcasted on secular radio stations.

It’s really quite fascinating when you think about it.

The world is full of lost people doing their holiday shopping while hearing about the savior’s birth in the background music.

Christmas is a unique time of year and Christians will do well to take advantage of that!

I wanted to bring this list of Christmas Carols with good theology to your attention for a few different reasons:

1) They can inspire your worship of God.

2) They can help you meditate on God’s truth.

3) They can be conversational starting points to talk about the meaning behind Christmas (Jesus).

Here's the list of powerful Christmas songs and hymns:

5 Christmas Carols with Seriously Good Theology

1) O Come, O Come Emmanuel

“Emmanuel” or “Immanuel” has to be one of the coolest names attributed to Jesus meaning “God with us”.

The hymn as a whole, throughout it’s impressive 7 verses, refers to Jesus by many names, many of which come from the Old Testament such as “branch of Jesse’s stem”, “key of David”, and “bright and morning star”.

Where this hymn really stands out is it’s powerful portrayal of salvation.

The incredible thing about the gospel is that it is at the same time simple and extremely profound.

Christians can get caught in a rut of thinking of Jesus’ salvation in only the simplest ways we communicate it.

This song displays the rich depths of the gospel in such a beautiful way, it will be worth your time to meditate on.

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,

and bring us comfort from afar!

Dispel the shadows of the night

and turn our darkness into light

Most musicians no longer perform all 7 verses of this song, but I highly recommend that you check them out!

Read the full lyrics here

Peter Hollens - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
(Feel free to save and use any of these quote graphics)

2) Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

This short hymn is packed with rich truth and a strong emphasis on the salvation that Jesus brings.

I especially like the second verse which reads:

Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a King,

born to reign in us forever,

now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal spirit

rule in all our hearts alone;

by thine all sufficient merit,

raise us to thy glorious throne.

Read the full lyrics here

Fernando Ortega - Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

3) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

This song will help you to see the glory of God in the incarnation.

“Incarnation” means “in the flesh” which we use to describe how God became a man, ultimately to save us.

Read verse two:

Christ, by highest heaven adored,

Christ, the everlasting Lord,

late in time behold him come,

offspring of the Virgin's womb:

veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

hail th'incarnate Deity,

pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus, our Immanuel.

Read the full lyrics here

Paul Baloche - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

4) O Holy Night

O Holy Night has to be one of the most powerful Christmas songs ever written.

While originally written in French, it has been translated into many languages all over the world.

Perhaps part of the power behind this song is that it does such a great job describing the character of Jesus and how his salvation impacts each and everyone one of us personally.

Here are a few examples in the song:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

In all our trials born to be our Friend.

He knows our need-- to our weakness is no stranger.

Some of my favorite lines in the song are:

Truly he taught us to love one another;

His law is love and his gospel is peace.

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,

And in his name all oppression shall cease.

The phrase “His law is love” references the stunning passage where the Pharisees attempted to stump Jesus by asking what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied in Matthew 22:37-40 saying,

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Also, keep in mind this hymn was written when slavery was still around and legal in both France and the United States.

But that’s the power of the love of Jesus. Surely, in his name all oppression will cease.

Read full lyrics here

David Phelps - O Holy Night

5) O Little Town of Bethlehem

This song does a fantastic job showing the paradox of God’s salvation.

The eternal God would bring salvation to the whole world through a small child, in a small town, mostly unnoticed by the world.

Consider the third verse:

How silently, how silently

the wondrous gift is giv'n!

So God imparts to human hearts

the blessings of His heav'n.

No ear may hear His coming,

but in this world of sin,

where meek souls will receive Him still

the dear Christ enters in.

Read full lyrics here

Voiceplay - O Little Town of Bethlehem
(Feel free to save and use any of these quote graphics)

No more silent night

We live in a chaotic world where busyness is a virtue and the noise never stops.

But the message of salvation through Jesus Christ remains the most important message the world needs to hear.

Know this message

Share this message

And Praise God

Do these things and remember, these Christmas Carols can help.

You might like these other posts by Tim (Bio below)

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Tim is the senior editor for the ABC Voices blog. He is the chapter director of Ratio Christi, an apologetics ministry, at Grand Valley State University and the director of the Michigan Apologetics Network. Tim and his family are members of Allendale Baptist Church where Tim is also an assistant pastor. Anyone who meets Tim easily remembers him as the tallest Filipino they've ever met.