Advent/Christmas Music from a Rich Array of Traditions

by Christine Sine

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. 

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 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.

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 also enjoy this great collection of instrumental Celtic Christmas music.

Another inspirational recording is this one from Celtic Woman. 

From Pentatonix

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 the Advent album in 2019.

And for those that want to check out the vast range of what is out there.

Top 40 Pop 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

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 You-tube, 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 from MSA

Each year I produce an Advent meditation video with background music by Jeff Johnson. These can be viewed online  along with other Advent resources or purchased in high resolution by download.

I am still working on the Advent 2015 video but here is a link to the Advent 2014 Lord You Wait for Us. 

We have an array of other Advent and Christmas resources available including videos from 2007 – 2013 and several Advent devotionals available here.

Prayer Cards & other resources 

As a free gift to you all, a small way to say thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement, we offer, as well as Advent in a Jar,  our  Advent/Christmas colouring book, Colour Your Way Through Advent and Christmas. Colouring pages are based on the O Antiphon images drawn for us last year by Danielle Poland for our popular devotional A Journey Toward Home: Soul Travel from Advent to Lent. Additional Christmas images were created by our new volunteer Shelby Selvidge.

And don’t forget our prayer cards and other Godspace resources

Prayer Cards. I have loved putting these together and their popularity suggests you enjoy them too. There are three sets available – two that provide short reflections and prayers for pausing through the day and a third with a Celtic theme. These are available as separate sets or you can bundle them together to receive one of each set. I find these cards enrich my own devotional time and I hope they will do the same for yours.

Waiting for the Light – An Advent Devotional – Christine Sine 

A Journey Towards Home: Soul Travel From Advent to Lent with contributions from a number of Godspace authors

Advent Waiting Experience by Lilly Lewin

A Fragrant Offering: A Daily Prayer Cycle In The Celtic Tradition – John Birch

Seeking the Light: Poetry for the Soul – Ana Lisa DeJong

This is part of a series on Christmas/Advent resources. Check out the other posts here

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Advent Activities for Families and Kids Updated for 2016 – Godspace November 16, 2016 - 3:08 pm

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