Music is a major part of the Christmas season and its celebrations. The questions are:
- Is it a Christmas song?
- Is it a Christmas hymn?
- Is it a Christmas carol?
While we might think it doesn’t matter, there are some differences in the music you hear and the lyrics you sing.
Popular Christmas songs are specifically about Christmas, but are typically not overtly religious and therefore do not qualify as Christmas carols, but Christmas songs.
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification.
A Christmas carol is a song in which a religious topic is treated in a style that is familiar or festive. Christmas carols are traditional without a specific religious context.
A Christmas carol (also called noël) has lyrics about Christmas themes or the winter season which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas.
Interesting things about Christmas music.
- Much of what is known as Christmas music today was adopted from music initially created for other purposes. They later became associated with Christmas in some way.
- Many secular songs are regarded as “Christmas” songs due to the time of year they are most often heard or sung, despite never mentioning anything about Christmas. These include favorites such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Let it Snow,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
- “Sleigh Ride” doesn’t mention Christmas. Instead it mentions a birthday party.
- “Jingle Bells” was originally written to celebrate Thanksgiving and not Christmas.
- Many songs we sing at Christmas are just winter songs and not Christmas songs because they carry no Christmas connotation at all. It is difficult to popularize a winter-themed song, without its being regarded as a “Christmas” song because winter-themed songs are generally not played on the radio during the larger part of the winter after the Christmas season has ended. On the other hand, summer hits are played throughout the summer.
Whether you call it a Christmas song, a Christmas hymn, or a Christian carol, sing to the glory of God during the season leading up to the celebration of the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.