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Five reasons why traditional carols hit the spot

Worship leader and songwriter Keith Getty believes our time-honoured Christmas carols still have a huge amount to offer the Church …

Five reasons why traditional Christmas carols hit the spot

The story of Jesus’s birth will be retold in many different ways this Christmas. But there is one medium that can bring all people together around the central essence of this incredible story – Christmas carols.

Here are five reasons we should still sing traditional Christmas carols today.

The carols are the best opportunity to sing

In the Bible there are at least 50 direct commands from God to sing his message of grace and truth together. So what greater opportunity could be found than to sing about what matters most? After all, Christmas carols creatively reveal the greatest news imaginable. They are not just seasonal songs, they are gospel songs that joyfully build us up in our faith every time we sing them.

The carols teach us deeper truths

The carols are the lyrical masterpieces of the hymns, spanning centuries and continents with foundational, transformational, theological substance. Yet even children love to sing them. What more could one ask for than for each generation to sing and internalise the deepest gospel revelations? Imagine the power of carrying truths through life such as those found in the words of the carol ‘Come Thou Long Expected Jesus’: Israel’s strength and consolation / Hope of all the earth thou art / Dear desire of every nation / Joy of every longing heart. (Charles Wesley)

The carols bring the generations together

There is no time like Christmas to watch the generation gaps close as families and friends, young and old, Christian and non-Christian – people from every part of the cultural spectrum – come together to sing carols. Christmas carols are so timelessly composed and lyrically crafted that they unite the generations to declare this one miraculous message and this one miraculous moment.

The carols are musical masterpieces

While the lyrics express the most incredible story and message imaginable, the musicality of the hymns represents some of the most incredible melodies and orchestrations every composed. Borrowing from a variety of genres and styles, each being interwoven into the others, the carols are an audible tapestry gloriously expressing the gospel story.

The carols are a radical witness

Christmas is the biggest evangelistic event of the year. When the carols are sung, those around us are informed or reminded of God’s faithfulness, and they are pointed to the grace that is now available to us in Christ. Radical singing produces a radical gospel witness, revealing the hope of the world to those who are singing about him or listening to songs about him, even if they have yet to believe in him.

This Christmas, there are so many reasons to remember and enjoy the carols together – so above all else, let us sing!

Main photo: Keith and Kristyn Getty

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