These Christmas Carols Bring Joy to the Whole World

Christian leaders and musicians in nine countries and territories share their favorite Western and local holiday tunes.

Christmas songs featuring Jesus don’t top the global charts, as a recent CT piece noted. Of those that have gained popularity, many are translations of Western carols. Though they may not be indigenous to that country, they’re beloved for their theological truths and their retelling of the Christmas story.

We asked Christian leaders and musicians representing nine countries and territories to share their favorite songs, both those originally from the West and ones closer to home.

Mariel Deluca Voth, theological education consultant for Latin America and the Caribbean, reSource Leadership International:

“La Navidad de Luis,” written by León Gieco, is one of my favorite Christmas songs because it reflects on the values of empathy and solidarity. The song mentions that Luis does not accept the wine and the panettone given by his boss because he understands that charity or pity do not mitigate poverty and oppression. Instead, he chooses to accept words spoken by his own father, words that give him life: Jesus is like me.

My favorite Western Christmas song is “Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Angels We Have Heard on High).” As a child, I always lived in an urban setting, but my home had a huge terrace where I could swing for hours, seeing shapes in the clouds and imagining stories. So during the Christmas season I would open my eyes wide to see the multitude of angels singing “Gloria in excelsis Deo!” I love this carol even today because I can accept the invitation to adore Jesus and do so in tune with angels, mountains, and shepherds.

Xiaofei Wang, director, Xiamen Pastors’ Wives Fellowship:

My favorite Chinese Christmas song is “The Starlit Blessing.” …

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