Christmas Music

I’ve come to appreciate liturgical traditions that make a clear distinction between Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany music, so here are some of my favorites for each.


Sleepers, wake! A voice astounds us (sound), written by Philipp Nicolai in 1597. But it’s hard for me to imagine it was written 410 years ago. Bach based a chorale on it. Various English translations; I’m familiar with the one by Carl Daw.

The Magnificat is of course an advent text which has been given many settings. One which moves me greatly is “Sing, my soul, the greatness of the Lord”, by Buryl Red and Ragan Courtney, from a musical called Celebrate life.


A recent addition to my favorites is a French/First Nations carol, ‘Twas in the moon of wintertime.


Brightest and best of the sons of the morning (sound) is a traditional American hymn with various versions of the lyrics and several tunes. I like the version that begins “Hail the bless’d morn, see the great Mediator,” to a tune called Star in the east.

Secular Christmas music

It’s sentimental, but I’m partial to Merry Christmas, darling as sung by Karen Carpenter.

Winter music

Someone pointed out that Jingle bells is what the Beach Boys would have sung 150 years ago.

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