I’ve so enjoyed listening to and sharing videos of my favorite Christmas carols this week! I love ALL Christmas carols, including those that are more “modern” or fun with Santa Claus as the theme, but I especially adore those carols with a strong message of Christ’s birth. For this Christmas Eve post, I am going to share a few more videos of songs I personally love. All of them are from YouTube and can be clicked on to discover dozens more holiday videos and audio recordings.
There are far too many carols I consider “favorites” to name one, two, or even a definitive top five. The vast majority are classic carols written long ago. Yet, I do know for sure that IF I was forced to decide on my five favorite Christmas Carols, “Mary, Did You Know?” would be on the list, despite it being written in 1991. Once again I am going to pick Pentatonix for the spotlight rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?”
Another favorite of mine is “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Originally a French carol of unknown origin, the song was translated into English in 1862. Typically the carol is paired with the Christian hymn “Gloria In Excelsis Deo” (Latin for “Glory to God in the Highest”), which has been part of the Church Greater Doxology since the 4th century. The version in the video below is apparently sung by Australian Marina Prior every year at “Carols by Candlelight” in Melbourne, as there are several recordings on YouTube. I chose the one from 2012 for no particular reason. (Okay, I liked the blue gown!)
For my third favorite today, “Joy to the World.” Written by Isaac Watts in 1719, the carol is based on Psalm 98, and was originally published by Watts in a collection titled “The Psalms of David.” At this point, I should note that finding a wide variety of quality live performance videos on YouTube for Christmas songs was surprisingly difficult. Most are audio recordings (of which there are thousands) played over still images, poorly done home recordings, or by unknown singers. Those artists who freely share their Christmas performances or created official videos seem to be the same ones. For that reason, as well as simply really liking certain singers or groups — cough Pentatonix cough — there are a number of repeats chosen this week. Here again are the phenomenal Celtic Woman quartet in a 2015 live performance of “Joy to the World.”
Finally, something a bit different. “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” as sung by Daryl Hall and John Oates. The carol was written in 1849 by American pastor Edmund Sears. This version by Hall and Oates is a lovely mixture of the traditional lyrics with an updated stanza or two, and a funky, slightly bluegrass melody. I am a fan of Hall and Oates, but typically I do not like spiritual Christmas carol lyrics altered. Therefore, I was surprised how much I loved this!