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51 Religious Christmas Songs for Your Holiday Playlist

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Make a playlist of religious Christmas carols to celebrate the holiday season.  We have favorite Christmas songs from popular pop, rock, country, R&B, and contemporary Christian artists. Celebrate His birth with beautiful Christmas music.

Make a playlist of religious Christmas carols to celebrate the holiday season. We have favorite Christmas songs from popular pop, rock, country, R&B, and contemporary Christian artists. Celebrate His birth with beautiful Christmas music.

Jesus Is the Reason for the Season: Make a Playlist to Celebrate

Between the tinsel and festive gift wrap, the Christmas cookies, and the mistletoe, it's all too easy during the busy holiday season to become distracted by all that is bright and shiny. It's too easy to forget the purpose of Christmas.

Even those among us who are spiritual but not religious probably have fond memories of once attending Christmas church services or participating in a church play or performance as a child. (My younger brother was once a reluctant wise man.)

Celebrate the reason for the season with a playlist of favorite religious Christmas songs by popular pop, rock, country, R&B, and contemporary Christian artists. We have a long list of good ones to start you out.

1. "Noel" by Chris Tomlin (featuring Lauren Daigle)

This contemporary Christian Christmas song from 2015 celebrates the birth of Jesus. It was written by Chris Tomlin and performed by Lauren Daigle, whose voice is simply inspired. An unsuccessful American Idol contestant in 2010 and 2012, she became a popular Grammy-nominated Christian artist within five years. Listen to this song and you'll understand why.

2. "Away in a Manger" by Martina McBride

Country singer Martina McBride was introduced at a CMT Awards ceremony as “one of the greatest voices ever created by God.” Although this 1998 Christmas carol doesn't showcase her range, she performs it exquisitely.

"Away in a Manger" was first published in the late 1800s throughout the English-speaking world and commonly misattributed to German theologian Martin Luther. It is now believed to be entirely American in origin, however.

3. "Mary's Boy Child" by Boney M

Here's another celebration of the birth of Christ which set the world aglow and made heaven's angels sing. This Christmas song is non-traditional, an upbeat 1981 calypso tune sung by German group Boney M. The group was internationally popular during the disco era.

4. "Angels We Have Heard on High" by Pentatonix

In this Christmas carol, the angels exclaim, "Glory to God in the highest." They gleefully celebrate the newborn King with sweet melodies that exalt the momentous event.

Derived from a French song, this Christmas favorite has been recorded by artists as diverse as REO Speedwagon, The Carpenters, and Christina Aguilera so you definitely have your pick of singers. The a capella group Pentatonix 2012 offers a laudable version.

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5. "O Holy Night" by Josh Groban

Josh Groban delivers a masterful performance in his 2002 version of this traditional Christmas carol. It paints the setting for the night of the Savior's birth, describing the manger scene, the wise men, and the hope that Jesus brought to the world.

Especially in these troubled times, it is meaningful to turn to the message of redemption offered in this song:

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.

6. "The First Noel" by Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood's 2007 cover of this simple, joyous Christmas carol lends a light, airy quality to it. The song commemorates the holy birth, describing with wonder the bright Star of Bethlehem.

7. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Barenaked Ladies (featuring Sarah McLachlan)

How ironic that a group named "Barenaked Ladies" can deliver such a memorable performance of this Christmas song, but it absolutely works, particularly with the angelic vocals offered by Sarah McLachlan. If you've never listened to their 2004 rendition, stop what you're doing and give it a try. Together they have transformed one of the oldest Christmas carols (dating to the 16th century or before) into one that fits seamlessly with contemporary culture.

"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus." - Neal A. Maxwell, American religious leader

"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus." - Neal A. Maxwell, American religious leader

8. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" by Amy Grant

She may not have the high flying voice of Mariah Carey, but the versatile pop, Christian, country, and pop artist Amy Grant does a lovely job in her 1983 version of this hymn. Dating back to the 1700s, the Christmas song was originally slow and solemn. It also contained several now-deleted verses about Jesus redeeming the entire environment rather than focusing on humanity alone. (I wish they had retained those verses.)

9. "Silent Night" by Kelly Clarkson (featuring Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire)

Listening to this Christmas song, one can almost imagine being in the hushed presence of the newborn Savior. The song highlights the tranquility of the manger setting as the blessed infant is urged to "sleep in heavenly peace."

The 2013 rendition by original American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, backed up by two divas of country music, is powerful. "Silent Night" is so culturally significant to Christianity that it was named by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2011.

10. "O Come All Ye Faithful" by Anne Murray

This Christmas hymn is a birth announcement that beckons the faithful to Bethlehem to celebrate the arrival of the newborn King. The richly textured voice of Canadian pop and country singer Anne Murray provides a beautiful 1988 cover of this traditional tune.

11. "The Christmas Shoes" by NewSong

Some might call this original Christian song from 2000 sappy although others may consider it bittersweet and touching. Told from the perspective of a bystander, the Christmas song recounts the tale of a poor little boy who seeks to buy his dying mother a pair of shoes she had been wanting. As he attempts to make his purchase, the child comes up short, but the stranger helps him out so that the boy's mother can have the pair of shoes she wanted in case she met Jesus that night.

The beauty of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence.

The beauty of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence.

12 Ideas for Keeping the Christ in Christmas

Got an interesting way that you keep Christ in Christmas? Share it below in the Comments Section.

IdeaIdea

Set up a Nativity scene in a prominent area of your home. As a family, discuss what Mary, Joseph, the wise men, innkeepers who had no room, and others must have been thinking or feeling.

Collect flat stones and paint them solid red or green. Then paint (or ModPodge) words of faith and inspiration. Leave them in random public places for strangers to find (e.g., at the ATM machine, on restaurant tables).

Invite someone who would otherwise be alone to spend Christmas dinner with you. Or go to them, taking them dinner (e.g., nursing home resident, shut-in).

Attend midnight mass/Christmas Eve services or a religious Christmas performance.

Create a gratitude or blessings chain. From Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, have each family member secretly write one thing they are thankful for on a slip of brightly colored paper. Assign one color for each family member. Create a paper chain, with the writing facing inwards. As a part of your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day celebration, read aloud each thought of gratitude or blessing.

Give to those in need. Bake homemade dog biscuits for the local animal shelter or start a food and toy drive for homeless animals. Donate toys to a battered women's shetler or toiletries and blankets to a homeless shelter.

Educate your children about the symbols of Christmas and what they mean.

Select nativity books for children and read them as a family.

Attach a synopsis of the legend of the candy cane to individual candy canes. Distribute to friends as well as strangers.

Anonymously give a single mother a gift card to a supermarket, gas station, or retailer like Walmart or Target. Include a note of inspiration and encouragement.

Take current events or dilemmas from life and discuss with your family, "What would Jesus do?" Give it a Christmas spin by selecting holiday scenarios.

Listen to religious Christmas songs. If you don't know all the words, learn them. Share a playlist with someone you care about.

12. "Hallelujah (Light Has Come)" by BarlowGirl

This all-female Christian rock group memorializes the birth Christ in this 2008 Christmas song:

Hallelujah! We've been found
A child is born to save us now
Jesus, Hallelujah light has come
A savior set us free.

13. "Go Tell It on the Mountain" by Dolly Parton

Backed up by a choir, country singer Dolly Parton delivers a rousing performance in the 1990 release of this traditional African American spiritual describing the nativity scene. In a celebratory manner, the song encourages the listener to spread the good news of the Savior's birth.

14. "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)" by Amy Grant

With its Celtic influences, this 1992 Christian song doubles as a Christmas tune, too. It details the Virgin Mary's thoughts and feelings as she faces impending birth. She is cold, weary, frightened, and confused. Wondering if she is up to the challenge, she asks God for help as the future unfolds.

15. "Mary, Did You Know?" by CeeLo Green

A modern Christmas classic, this tune addresses Mary and asks whether she foresaw that her son would be the Redeemer of mankind. Although recorded by various country, pop, and Contemporary Christian artists, I like this 2012 R&B version because it perfectly showcases CeeLo Green's versatility as an artist. The tune was featured on the 2014 soundtrack for the movie, "Son of God."

16. "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" by Norah Jones

This traditional Christmas carol is different in that it doesn't focus on the nativity but rather on war and peace. Singing against the background of a conflicted and pained world, the angels spread their wings and strum their harps. They call for peace and goodwill to all. Norah Jones' 2012 jazz-influenced rendition of this Christmas song is simply dazzling.

17. "O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Sarah McLachlan

This popular Christmas carol concentrates on a description of the setting in which Jesus was born—Bethlethem and its dark, still streets contrasted against the light of the guiding star that announces the birth of Christ. In her 2006 verion, Sarah McLachlan's voice is so heavenly it simply floats, perfectly capturing the emotion of the setting she describes.

18. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" by Whitney Houston

No one could match the heavenly voice of Whitney Houston when she was in her prime. This 1995 release by the late pop diva lends an impressive vocal range to the 1962 Christmas song. It was written about the threat of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis and features a little lamb telling a little shepherd boy to pray for peace.

19. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Casting Crowns

This Christmas song is based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the era of the American Civil War. Wadsworth endured personal heartbreaks, including a house fire that left him severely burned and killed his beloved wife. He was also left crestfallen by his son's sudden enlistment in the war and subsequent battle wounding.

The song initially echoes the poet's personal despair: "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men." However, it then takes a more joyous turn with the rediscovery of hope:

God is not dead, nor doth he sleep,
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.

The 2008 rendition of this song by contemporary Christian group Casting Crowns is splendid, particularly with a children's choir as backup.

20. "A Baby Changes Everything" by Faith Hill

A contemporary Christmas song that was written by the singer, this 2008 religious holiday song concentrates on Mary's perspective. The opening stanzas describe an unwed

Teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what's to come.

It isn't until the middle of the song that the listener learns that the young mother-to-be is actually Mary. With the birth of the newborn King, she appreciates that a baby changes everything.

I want a Christmas that whispers Jesus.

I want a Christmas that whispers Jesus.

Know a religious Christmas song that should be on this playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comments Section below!

SongArtistYear Released

21. The Little Drummer Boy

The Harry Simeone Corale

1958

22. Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child

Mariah Carey

1994

23. Do You Have Room

April Meservy

2014

24. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Enya

2008

25. We Three Kings of Orient Are

Pentatonix

2011

26. The Holly and the Ivy

Annie Lennox

2010

27. What Child Is This

Martina McBride

1998

28. I Saw Three Ships

Blackmore's Night

2006

29. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Barenaked Ladies

2004

30. Love Came Down At Christmas

Jars of Clay

2007

31. I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day

Echosmith

2013

32. The Heart of Christmas

Matthew West

2011

33. Sweet Little Jesus Boy

Casting Crowns

2008

34. Joy to the World

Whitney Houston

1996

35. Good King Wenceslas

Blackmore's Night

2006

36. Who Would Imagine a King

Whitney Houston (featuring The Nativity Choir)

1996

37. Ding Dong Merrily On High

Charlotte Church

2000

38. Christmas Card

Steven Curtis Chapman

2012

39. Heaven Everywhere

Francesca Battistelli

2012

40. Where's the Line to See Jesus?

Becky Kelly

2010

41. Ave Maria

Beyonce

2008

42. Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

The Judds

1987

43. You're Here

Lucy Hale

2017

44. Merry Christmas, Mary

Johnny Cash

1980

45. Christmas Must Be Tonight

Train

2015

46. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Pentatonix

2016

47. Light of the World

Lauren Daigle

2016

48. Christ Is Born

The Carpenters

1978

49. Born in Bethlehem

Third Day

2000

50. Not That Far from Bethlehem

Point of Grace

1999

51. Joy Unto the World

The Afters

2019

Questions & Answers

Question: What is a praise and worship song that has the lyrics, “Sleep baby Jesus, rest your weary head"?

Answer: The song you seem to want is "Mary's Prayer" by Bebo Norman (2007). Note, however, that instead of weary head this is weary eyes. Here are the lyrics and YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMyTRy6MshE

Sleep baby Jesus, close Your weary eyes

Hide Yourself in faithful dreams before You live Your life

And slip away to Heaven and rest in gentle peace

Never to awaken the Lord Your soul to keep

'Cause Your feet will walk on water

Your eyes will pierce the dark

And Your heart will save the souls of men

Your hands will bear the scars

Sleep baby Jesus, for now Your time has come

To heal the wounded leper, to calm the raging storm

With perfect steps of perfect grace You leave behind Your fear

And walk along these dusty roads though Your fate is clear

'Cause Your feet walked on water

Your eyes pierced the dark

And Your heart will save the souls of men

Your hands will bear the scars

Sleep baby Jesus, my Father and my child

Beneath this broken cross of sin stained with men's denial

And though You now are breathless with thorns upon Your head

Your body has been broken so Your children can be fed

Cause Your feet have walked on water

Your eyes have pierced the dark

Your heart has saved the souls of men

But Your hands now bear the scars

And Your feet have walked on water

Your eyes have pierced the dark

And Your heart has saved the souls of men

Your hands now bear the scars.

Question: What is the song that has the words "the beauty of Christmas" in it?

Answer: There's a song by an artist called Our Voyage that is called "Thankful." I could not find a YouTube link to it, but here are the lyrics:

Woke up, Christmas morning

Didn't quite know what was going on

but one thing I knew was

Everyone was here

I could feel it in the air

Loving hearts that care

Oh, the memories they knew about you

The beauty of Christmas isn't things

It comes from the hearts of the family.

I'm thankful, so thankful

To celebrate this day

That our Savior, Jesus was born on earth

And through Him, we are saved.

Looked outside the window

Last night's snowflakes on the ground

Everyone looked at each other's shining faces

and said, "Come on,

bundle up, it's time"

For what? They knew.

I said, "Let's go sledding outside."

I'm thankful

To celebrate this day

That our Savior, Jesus was born on earth

And through Him, we are saved

Thank you, Jesus, for the sun

Thank you for everyone

Thank you for the warmth

And coziness the fire brings

The air I breathe at night is cool,

Thanks for winter

Then you'll understand when you appreciate everything

I'm thankful

To celebrate this day

That our savior, Jesus, was born on earth

And through Him, we are saved.

Question: Can you identify a song which is sung by Mary asking God not to take her Son?

Answer: I believe the song you reference is "He's My Son" by Mark Schultz (2000). Here is the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l09AJ9lXSE

Question: There is a Christmas song that says as part of the chorus, "Jesus, this we remember your birthday." What is the name of the song?

Answer: This is the name of the Christmas song that you want: "Come On, Ring Those Bells" by Evie Tornquist (1977)

Sample lyrics:

Come on, ring those bells,

Light the Christmas tree,

Jesus is the king

Born for you and me.

Come on, ring those bells,

Every-body say,

Jesus, we remember

This your birthday.

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NruxzInhTs

Question: My church will be singing "The Best Present of All" for our nativity I have the lyrics but need the sheet music, can you help?

Answer: On the following website, you can get the sheet music and lyrics for this song and other worship music by creating an account. I don't know whether this song is in the public domain or if it's copyrighted. If it's copyrighted, they'll charge you. However, I couldn't find the sheet music anywhere else: https://songselect.ccli.com/Songs/785063/the-best-...