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Six Christmas Carols for the Ages

By Hannah Goodwyn
Senior Producer Frosty the Snowman, sleigh rides and jingle bells ring in the holiday season for many Christmas radio listeners. But if you're looking to bask in the sounds of Christmastime, give these historical and biblically based classics a thoughtful listen.

Here are just six Christ-glorifying hymns that have stood the test of time:

"Joy to the World" (1719)

As of the late 20th century, "Joy to the World" was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America. It's based on the 98th Psalm and was written by the "Father of English Hymnody", Isaac Watts.

"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" (1739)

Methodist movement leader Charles Wesley penned this popular Christmas carol, one of 6,000 he eventually wrote, as a part of the 1739 collection Hymns and Sacred Poems.

"O Come, All Ye Faithful" (1751)

"O Come, All Ye Faithful", Latin for "Adeste Fideles", is attributed to John Francis Wade, an English hymnist who was exiled to France with fellow English Catholics in 1745.

"The First Noel" (1823)

This classical English carol is likely from the 18th century; however, its current form was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern in 1823. "Noel" is based on the Latin word, natalis, which means birthday.

"Silent Night" (1818)

First written in German, "Silent Night" is, too many, the carol to sing in celebration of our Savior's birth. It was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818 at St. Nicholas Parish Church in Salzburg, Austria.

"O Holy Night" (1847)

Based on a French poem, "O Holy Night" was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847. The poem about Christ's birth was titled "Minuit, chretiens", which means "Midnight, Christians".

Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.

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