Critic’s Choices: Our Favorite Christmas Worship Songs for 2017

Darlene Zschech

The season of Christmas is upon us.  Many of us who lead worship are in search of new songs to teach our congregations this season.  And then there are others among us who are also searching for new worship songs to sing along as we celebrate the precious birth of or Savior.  So, here's our top 5 Christmas worship favorites this year.

5. Planetshakers "Hark" from the album "Christmas Vol. 1"

Music director Joth Hunt gets the lion's share as far as fronting the microphone.  Hunt croons in his balladry best on "Hark" (abbreviated for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") before the song slowly swells into a synth-disco grove that would make Giorgio Moroder proud.  

4. Hillsong Worship "Prince of Peace" from the album "The Peace Project"

"Prince of Peace," a ballad that benefits from Brooke Ligertwood's touch, is in the class of their Grammy nominated #1 single "What a Beautiful Name."  Here Ligertwood puts her smoky vocals to great effect as she carefully unveils the wonder of who Jesus really is.

3. Matt Marvane "Jesus is" from the album "Resistance (The English Album)"

Graham Kendrick, who is essentially one of the pioneering fathers of worship music, adds his insights into "Jesus Is."  With only three verses eschewing a bridge and even a chorus, "Jesus Is" is unusual.  Yet, the song doesn't sound contrived because the verses are so well-developed and contained that it is in fact one of the best expositions of the Trinity captured in song. Moreover, the song is littered with lots of heart tugging lines, with this being a favorite: "Took our sin and sorrow, bore it on His shoulder Friend of the sinner, Friend of mine..."

2. Meredith Andrews "Behold the Savior" from the album "Receive Our King"

Worship leaders who are looking for a worship anthem for the advent services may do well to listen to "Behold the Savior."  Unlike many Christmas songs that hover around the descriptive, the song brings us into the Christmas story in worship when Andrews sings:  "He will bear our weight/He will wear our shame/Come lift Him high, behold the Savior/Jesus Christ Law of love and light/Come lift Him high, behold the Savior." 

1.HopeUC Featuring Darlene Zschech "O Holy Night/All Glory"

Darlene Zschech puts her delicate yet passionate vocals on what is an unforgettable take of the Christmas hymn "O Holy Night."  If you want to hear a vocalist who means every syllable she sings, this is it.  The hymn (which extends to over 5 minutes) is then tagged on with an explosive worship (in terms of a new song) for the remaining minute or so which is again heavenly.   



Tags : Christmas Darlene Zschech hopeuc Hillsong Darlene Zschech hillsong worship Planetshakers Integrity Music Meredith Andrews christmas albums 2017 matt marvane graham kendrick

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