I am already heartily sick of “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” and other popular Christmas tunes. Fortunately, there are lots of alternatives. I am not an expert on music but thought that I would list a few of my favourites for this season. Focusing my own music choices on Advent themes rather than the Christmas carols that the secular culture grabs onto really helps me to keep my spiritual focus in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I love Advent chants, especially Gregorian chants, and also contemplative music so obviously this is the focus of my suggestions here.
This year, I found an Advent playlist on Spotify for you to enjoy. There is also this great list from Cedar Park church on their Advent playlist. An album to check out is Advent to Christmas by Page CXVI.
Gregorian Chants to Inspire Us.
Gregorian chants, especially during Advent, are a wonderful way to calm my soul and rest my spirit.
I also highly recommend acquiring is a set of Advent chants recorded by The Benedictines of Mary “Advent at Ephesus”. These hit the top of the classic music lists a couple of years ago and it is easy to see why.
And another favourite of mine is an hour of contemplative music from Hildegard of Bingen: Voice of the Living Light
And I just came across this amazing set of chants recorded in 1930:
Advent Songs from the Black Gospel Tradition.
Paul Neeley at Global Christian Worship, posted a link to this wonderful collection of inspirational African American gospel songs that are appropriate to Advent. It included this inspirational recording:
I found this great lineup of Black Christmas Music in this playlist from 2019.
Celtic Music for the Season
My favourite Celtic style musician is Jeff Johnson. His Selah service meditations on Psalms are beautiful to listen to at this time of the year to help us maintain our peace. His Christmas album, A Quiet Knowing Christmas, is also one of my constant companions.
I put together a playlist on Spotify this year with an array of Celtic Advent music that you might like to listen to.
I also enjoy this great collection of instrumental Celtic Christmas music:
I love these not quite so traditional songs from Pentatonix
And Carol of the Bells:
A Few More Traditional Christmas Suggestions.
If you are looking for more traditional Christmas Music here are some that are hard to beat:
Two songs that remind us of the season of Advent rather than Christmas:
- The Three Tenors Christmas Concert in Vienna 1999
- Andrea Bocelli Christmas songs
- Liturgical Folk released this Advent album in 2019.
- LiveAbout.com has a list of their top 100 Christmas songs
- And a fascinating list of 50 top Christmas Songs from TimeOut London.
- A great list of classical Christmas albums from Ranker.com.
- Sacred Choral Music for Advent and Christmas 2020
Looking for an International Christmas:
I love this Arabic Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity.
- Some beautiful songs for peace from Latin America
- African Christmas by Ed Jordan is a very powerful song to listen to at this time of the year.
- Betelehemu – a Nigerian Christmas song sung by the African Children’s Choir
- I was not able to find this song on YouTube, but one Asian carol I would recommend is The Hunger Carol with words by New Zealander Shirley Erena Murray and music by Taiwanese hymnologist I-to Loh
- And for more inspirational carols from around the world, you might like to do a Christmas search on the Global Christian Worship site. Check out the carols in Arabic, Yoruba (Nigeria), Pidgin from Papua New Guinea and many more languages.
Music and More
In past years, I produced Advent meditation videos with background music by Jeff Johnson.
From Advent 2015: Leaning Towards the Light
Below is the video from Advent 2014 called Lord, You Wait for Us.
- Advent 2013: Coming Home to God
- Advent 2012: Alleluia The Christ Child Comes
- Advent 2011: Lord Jesus Christ Draw Close
- Advent 2010: Christ is Coming
- Advent 2009: The Coming of the Lord is Near
- Advent 2008: Jesus Christ Light of the World
- Advent 2007: Awaiting the Christ Child
This is part of a series on Christmas/Advent resources.
- Advent Activities for Families and Kids for 2020
- Helping Kids Give Back This Christmas
- Celebrate With Simplicity This Christmas
- Advent/Christmas Music from a Rich Array of Traditions
- Getting Ready for Advent/Christmas Worship Resources for the Season
- Choosing Your Scripture Readings for the Coming Year
- Who Will You Invite to the Manger?
- Advent Candle Light Liturgy
- What On Earth Are The O Antiphons
Resources from Godspace for Advent and Christmas
Godspace has a variety of resources available for celebrating this season.
- NEW DEVOTIONAL! Lean Towards the Light this Advent & Christmas + Advent Cards Bundle compiled by Christine Sine and Lisa DeRosa
- Lean Towards the Light Advent Retreat Online – video sessions by Christine Sine along with handouts to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child this Advent.
- A Journey Toward Home: Soul Travel For Advent to Lent compiled by Kristin Carroccino and Christine Sine
- Waiting for the Light: An Advent Devotional compiled by Ricci Kilmer, Susan Wade and Christine Sine
- Prayer Cards – more than Christmas gifts. These have been used for daily devotions, grief counselling, small groups and congregational prayers.
Check out the entire resource list here for more ideas for Advent and Christmas.
Godspace has a number of Advent resources available for both free download and purchase. Visit our store.