Every year, new Christmas songs are written and performed by popular artists from nearly every music genre, but at church worship gatherings, the classics still reign.
The most popular Christmas songs downloaded or sold through LifewayWorship.com within the last year were:
- Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come
- O Come, All Ye Faithful
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- The First Noel
- Angels We Have Heard On High
- Silent Night, Holy Night
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- Go, Tell It on the Mountain
- O Holy Night
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
- Angels, from the Realms of Glory
- It Came upon the Midnight Clear
- Away in a Manger
- Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
- Mary, Did You Know
Mike Harland, director of Lifeway Worship said most Christmas carols go back to the 13th century.
"Carols were primarily art songs in nature with spiritual or religious themes. As time went by, they became more about the Nativity of Christ. The carols associated with Christmas tended to survive. By the 16th century, the Christmas carol was here to stay.
Now, Harland said, there's "a certain nostalgia with these familiar classics."
"People like to sing what they know, and especially at the holiday season it takes you back to places in your memory – singing the same songs as a child at Christmas.
"Christmas is a singing season," Harland said. "It may be the most sung about season of all. Almost everyone will sing during the Christmas season at one point or another, even if they don't normally sing at all. The familiarity of the songs is the main factor with this."