Yuletide Songs From Years Past

We sang “The First Noel” last Sunday during our worship time.

On Monday I tweeted, “Call a hymn by a woman’s name and everyone is okay with singing them in church for a month. #Christmas #carol

Until Sunday afternoon (when I promptly Googled it) I didn’t know what “Noel” meant.

This is what Dictionary.com says about “Noel”:


[noh-el for 1, 2; noh-uh l, nohl for 3]



the Christmas season; yuletide.


( lowercase ) a Christmas song or carol.
So appearnlty the song is about the first Christmas season. Something I have absolutely no problem singing about with a group gathered to sing to our God and learn from His word.

But why is everyone alright with singing hymns for the next month, but they are generally not something that we’ll sing (at least in some churches) during other times of the year?

A “Making Music Fun” website says this about the history of the Yuletide favorite:
The First Noël is an English Christmas carol, most likely from the 16th or 17th century, though possibly as early as the 13th century. The French word Noël means “Christmas”, which is devived from the Latin word natalis, which means “birth”. It is a carol of celebration, telling the story of the humble birth of the Baby of Babies, and the King of Kings – Born is the King of Israel!
I think it is great that we celebrate the birth of our Savior in song when we gather as a congregation. And these wonderful hymns are full of great story telling, lyrics and spiritual truths.

But why only at Christmastime? Why not use more hymns throughout the year (speaking to churches like mine that tend not too)? There are many great hymns that have good solid theology and could find a nice home in our set list with our more recently written songs.

Some would argue that if we have to be reading “all those words” then it is harder to worship. I would challenge them to get in a room by themselves and read Psalm 100  out loud, then ask them if the just worshiped God. It may feel different if we are reading the words, but it still brings glory to God and builds up His people.

Does your church use hymns?

What are some reasons for not using hymns in congregational worship?


2 thoughts on “Yuletide Songs From Years Past

  1. I, for one, would love to sing hymns all year ’round in church. I sing ’em by myself anytime I want to…how can anyone not? The lyrics, the music, the different arrangements…they’re just all so cool. I thnk we should “..come let us adore Him” whenever the Sprit strikes in that way. Of course, most of our other “regular” songs lead us into the same worship, and we wouldn’t want to do carols every week-they would probably get mundane. I think that’s why most churches don’t sing them all the time…they are always fresh and new once a year at Christmas. Love u

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