Christmas Carols

A Tradition-ful Advent:

Christmas Carols

A Little History:

St. Francis of Assisi is considered the father of Christmas Carols. In 1223, he first created these songs for his Nativity Plays in Italy.  People in the plays sang songs or ‘canticles’ that told the story during the plays. Traditionally, these songs had been written and sung in Latin, and were extremely somber (the more serious the music, the holier it was considered), however St. Francis wanted to encourage townspeople to “tell of your Christmas joy in song”.  One year he held a midnight mass in a cave in Italy and they sang Christmas songs that the people could understand and join in with like he used in his plays!  It is said that worshipers left the Mass that night joyfully singing the songs, and the new carols spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries from that night.  Over time, new carols services were created and became popular, as did the custom of singing carols in the streets. Both of these customs are still popular today!

The Connection:

We are encouraged throughout the Bible to sing the praises of our God, and what better time than at Christmas!  Singing Christmas Carols, or going caroling, is an opportunity to worship God through song (which he loves to hear) and to share the love of Jesus through song.  The tradition of door-to-door caroling is such a moving picture of the power of Christmas to open hearts to hear the gospel.  Many people who may never otherwise go into a church will stop to listen to carolers and hear the real story of Christmas.  We can show them our joy and love as we sing wholeheartedly these songs about God’s love for us in sending Jesus.

Verse(s) to Remember:

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” Psalms 98:1

Ideas to Make it Stick:

  • Go caroling!  Grab some friends and walk around the neighborhood singing Christmas Carols.  Retirement homes and hospitals are also great places to go!
  • Put on some Christmas music!
  • Look up some of your favorite Christmas carols and learn the history of who wrote them and where they came from.
  • Write your own Christmas Carol – let the kids put on a “concert”

Please feel free to share with friends and leave comments…  Do you have other connections between the tradition and the heart of the holiday?  Creative ideas to make it stick?  I’d love to know what you and your family do with this!


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