7 Christmas Songs that Make me Cry

Music has always been an essential part of the Christmas season. While I like some of the fun, classic songs of the season, my favorite Christmas songs will never be heard on the radio. The songs I revere most are the ones that move me, whether for the gorgeous instrumentation, the vocals, or the text to which its set.

Here are seven Christmas songs that make me cry.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

This is my favorite Christmas hymn. I love the mystery of it. This arrangement by The Piano Guys is so beautiful and mysterious and simple, it moves me.

O Nata Lux

I am a sucker for choral arrangements, and this one is probably my favorite Christmas piece. Composer Morten Lauridsen sets Latin text to glorious music, creating a sense of wonder and awe as Jesus, the Light, enters the world. The translation of the text, included below, is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

O Light born of Light, Jesus, redeemer of the world, with loving-kindness deign to receive suppliant praise and prayer. Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh for the sake of the lost, grant us to be members of thy blessed body.


Lux Aurumque

Another choral song about Jesus as Light, this time by Eric Whitacre, has a different tone. I love how he uses music to represent the imagery of light descending on the earth. Set to a strikingly simple text, the music itself is complex and moving.
Light, warm and heavy, pure like gold. Angels sing to the newborn babe.


All is Well

I first heard this song a few years ago, and what struck me about it was way it transitions from a gentle lullaby to a glorious proclamation of Christ’s birth. Michael W. Smith Christmas music is especially nostalgic to me, and his voice tends to stir up a well of childhood memories. Regardless, this song is just lovely.


O Magnum Mysterium

Another gorgeous piece by Morten Lauridsen, this song is about the mystery of the juxtaposition of Christ being found among humble animals. The moving choral lines are just gorgeous.

O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger! Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to birth Lord, Jesus Christ. Alleluia!


I Celebrate the Day

What I’ve always appreciated about Relient K is their vulnerability in their music. Of course, I enjoyed their silly, punk-rock songs as a teen, but this sweet Christmas song has always convicted my heart.


The Hallelujah Chorus

There is so many memories attached to this piece of music, from hearing my Dad play it on Christmas Eve nights, to singing it as a church the Sunday before Christmas. In any case, I can’t sing this powerful, old anthem that celebrates the reigning without getting choked up.



Gorgeous music can definitely be a part of your celebration of the holiday. I find that songs like these help orient my heart toward Christ, and help me remember why it is we are celebrating in the first place.

What does Christmas music mean to you?


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