How to Choose THE BEST Christmas Songs for Your Church

by: Brian Wurzell  |  December 7th, 2016  |  Faith> Worship Arts  | 

If you’re a Worship Pastor/Leader in a local church, you’ll know that Christmas is often one of the most beloved, yet dreadful, seasons in your rhythm of planning.

When should we start singing Christmas songs? How many songs within the Worship time should be Christmas in nature, versus our standard repertoire? Should it be all Christmas in December? Should we sing traditional versions of songs, or newly written songs? What about newly written versions of traditional songs? And on…and on…and on…the questions go.


Here are 3 Tips To Christmas Song Success:


Say YES To The Traditional Carols

The average person sitting in your gatherings, while they may enjoy a CCM Artists newly released Christmas song, they won’t likely have time to learn it enough to engage in it with you. There’s such a short window of time in the Christmas season, and the traditional carols end up being such an easy entry-point of engagement for people.


Stay True To The Original Versions

While shifting the meter of Silent Night to 4/4 sounds cool, people know how to sing it in 3/4. It’s best to keep traditional Christmas songs/carols in their known meter and in a key that makes room for the least-likely singer to jump in and worship. After all, in the musical doctrine of Buddy the Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” Stay original to the songs as much as possible, and find the creative challenge in adding vibe around the standard structure. I find that this is a great opportunity to create within something that’s already been created. The Advent EPs from Future of Forestry are my absolute favorite examples of this kind of approach to a modern twist on traditional songs – Check out a playlist of their Christmas stuff here.


Choose Your Songs Wisely

As Worship leaders, you have a short window of opportunity to sing Christmas/Advent related music. Find the songs that have depth in their lyrical quality while holding power in their musicality. A song like O Holy Night has such beautiful melodic movement, but ultimately, tethered to the melody is the rich lyrical content embedded within it. It’s a song that carries the transcendent concepts of Advent, Jesus’ life and ministry, and His intentions for us in why He came. I can sing that song A LOT during the Christmas season. Look for THOSE kinds of attributes.


Lastly, don’t tire of Christmas. As Pastors/Leaders, it can tend to be one of the more exhausting and demanding seasons of ministry for us. Take the time to lean into Advent. The coming of Christ is one of the most significant markers in our faith. Christmas is coming, but the focus of Advent is so critical in really experiencing the joy of Christmas.

If you’re looking for a good guide for walking the road of Advent to Christmas, check out Louie Giglio’s daily resource here! It’s never too late to start a journey like this and I promise you, it will change the game of how you see and experience Christmas

Brian Wurzell

Brian Wurzell is the Worship Pastor at Hillside Community Church in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. In addition to leading worship, he is also a moderator and speaker at conferences nationwide and serves on the USA Board of Directors for Harvest India.… Read More