Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and Advent starts this Sunday so if you haven’t already started listening to Christmas music, chances are you will this week. With that in mind, here are my favorite renditions of my favorite Christmas songs. I don’t have much tolerance for sappy or sentimental Christmas music, or for the songs that celebrate winter or fictional characters instead of Jesus. Instead, I love the songs that celebrate what Christmas is actually all about: the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity in order to redeem us from sin. Christmas might not be the actual day of Jesus’ birth (it’s actually certainly not), but there’s something appropriate about celebrating it at the coldest, darkest time of year because Christmas is the story of the Love, Life, and Light of God coming to deal with all our sin and mess. So the songs I’ll listen to over and over again over the next month or so strike on precisely that theme. Enjoy!

1. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

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.

2. O Holy Night

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.

3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.

4. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

5. Christmas Anthem

Hallelujah, hallelujah. Is the jubilant refrain;
God is sending us a Savior, Peace on earth, good will to men.

Bonus: Advent: God With Us

This is more spoken word than song, but I play this every advent season because it so perfectly captures the gospel message:

Advent: God With Us from The Village Church on Vimeo.