Many of us would not think of singing hymns at any other time of year except at Christmas Time. Christmas hymns or Carols as they are commonly referred to seem to encompass everything good about the Christmas season and can be enjoyed by Christians and non Christians alike during the festive season. Many of the most popular Carols date back centuries and are still much enjoyed today. Here are some of our favourites!
Silent Night is one of the most well known Christmas Carols of all time. Composed in 1818 by school master Franz Gruber in Salzburg Austria the words were written by Joseph Mohr a young priest. These two performed Silent Night for the first time at a Christmas Eve service in 1818.
We are sure Gruber and Mohr could not envisage that this beautiful haunting Christmas Hymn would become one of the mosy popular of all time and be performed by many many artists and choirs the world over. The Carol has been translated into over one hundred and forty languages worldwide and was the Carol the troops sang during the truce on the battlefields of France in 1914.
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.
O Holy Night
O Holy Night is another haunting Carol that was written long ago but still is sung at Christmas time every year. The words to the hymn are from a French poem by Placide Cappeau who was a wine merchant and budding poet back in 1843, while the music was added in 1847 by composer Adolphe Adam.
O Holy Night was performed for the first time by Emily Laurey a popular opera singer of the era. The words focus on the birth of Christ and how the birth brought redemption for us all.
O Holy Night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear saviour's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the spirit felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees oh hear the angels voices
Oh night divine the night when Christ was born
Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Hark The Herald Angels Sing is heard being sung at Christmas all over the world and is older than the previous two hymns listed as it was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley who was the brother of the famous founder of the Methodist church John Wesley.
The original hymn was sung to a different tune to the one we use today with music adapted from Mendelssohn by William H Cummings taking over the hymn in 1840.
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the new born king
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and Sinners reconciled
Joyful all you 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 new born king
Away in A Manger
Away in A Manger is one of the first Christmas Carols we learn as children and feels more like a lullaby than a hymn, while it is one of the most popular of Christmas Carols anywhere. It is said to have been adapted from Luthers Cradle Song and was subsequently published in 1885 to a tune called St Kilda by J E Clark.
It's origins are slightly blurred with different stories of how the hymn came about being written, while although Luther claimed it, if there was another composer involved, he never came forward to dispute Luther's claim.
Away in a manger no crib for a bed
The little lord Jesus lay down his sweet head
The stars in the bright sky look down where he lay
The little lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
Once in Royal David's City
Once in Royal David's City is sung by choirs and Carol singers everywhere at Christmas time. It was originally a poem written by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848 to be published in her book Hymns For Little Children. Cecil also wrote the children's hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful which also went on to be another much loved classic.
Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for his bed
Mary was that mother mild
Jesus Christ her little child.