Christmas Songs that aren’t exactly Christmas Songs

Matt Paasch, a reader on the staff of a Southern Gospel radio station in Missouri, submits the following question and column idea:

As you know, there are several people who are strictly against playing any Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Well, I was thinking about it, and since SG is themed about it (duh)… making a list of non-Christmas songs that could pass for them. Here’s the ones I’ve come up with so far: “That Little Baby” (Gold City), “Look Who Just Checked In” (Gold City), “Mary Knew” (Brian Free & Assurance), “Glory To God In The Highest” (Signature Sound, Brian Free & Assurance, Old Friends), “It Still Takes A Wise Man To Pray” (Jeff & Sherri Easter).

This seems like an interesting discussion topic for a slow news day. What others come to mind?

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  1. What we’re really talking about here are songs that are themed around the birth of Christ, that aren’t on a dedicated Christmas recording. In addition to the ones already posted, I think of “The Shepherds Found a Lamb” (Greater Vision), “Cherish That Name” (Cathedrals, Greater Vision), the first verse at least of “It’s Jesus” (Mark Trammell Trio), and an old Kyla Rowland song called “No Room”.

    • “No Room” doesn’t ring an immediate bell for me. Who cut it?

      • The only recording I know of is a live Rowlands album from the early 90s, “Live and Alive”.

      • Ah, OK! I don’t have that one!

      • It’s actually “Alive and Live”. Google turns up basically nothing on the song or the album.

    • I would completely disagree with Matt that these are non-Christmas songs, since the lyrics clearly indicate that they are. I think I know what he’s trying to say, though.

      What sets these songs apart is not the fact that they’ve appeared on CDs that had no other Christmas content. These are “year round” songs because they don’t depart from a Southern Gospel style.

      Most groups that record Christmas CDs intentionally make them sound Christmasy by breaking out the sleigh bells or going for an overly orchestrated style. These songs, however, are arranged in such a way that they don’t sound out of place beside the group’s regular material. I wish ALL groups took this approach to Christmas recordings.

      Here’s a few more that would fit:
      “Down In Bethlehem” (Mystery Men)
      “That Little Bitty Baby” (Kingdom Heirs)
      “That Little Baby” (Gold City…different song)
      “Come And See What’s Happening In The Barn” (Gaither Vocal Band)
      “Mary Was The First One To Carry The Gospel” (Gaither Vocal Band)

      • Matt already mentioned “That Little Baby” in his original list…sorry for the duplicate!

        Another type of song that differs slightly is the one that touches on Christmas in the beginning then extends the story further…or one that starts in the present and then goes back to the Christmas story at the end.

        A couple of Oak Ridge Boys songs come to mind.
        “From Love To Love”
        “The Most Inconvenient Christmas”

        Then there’s:
        “Yahweh” (Hoppers)
        “Heartbeat” (Singing Americans)

      • Yeah… I was going for the description of songs that are not generally considered “Christmas Songs”, but could be.

        Thanks for the input!!!

  2. Also:

    At the Right Time – Booth Brothers
    Hope Has Hands (Grace Has a Face) – Phil Cross – though others cut it on Christmas projects, I seem to recall that Cross himself cut it on a mainline.

  3. My opinion (not that it’s worth much!)… the Gospel is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. From birth to resurrection, it’s all part of the story should all be celebrated year round, so bring on the Christmas songs in July! 🙂 (Of course as a concert planner, I’m working on Christmas beginning in May, so I might be a little biased!)

    • I listen to Christmas music year-round, too! 🙂

  4. Children Go Where I Send Thee – Cathedrals

  5. The Isaacs – The Savior of the World Has Come, The Hoppers – Yahweh (touches on the birth of Christ, among other moments of Christ’s life.)

  6. here are a few that come to mind…”The Cross Was His Own” – Cathedrals- ; The Little Bo From The Carpenter’s Shop” – Florida Boys- ; Mary’s little lamb” – Kingsmen – ; “The Wonder of Wonders” – Inspirations- ; “What Did You Say Was The Baby’s Name” – Bill Gaither Trio –

    • You got one of the best we all missed in “Wonder of Wonders”.

    • “The Cross Was His Own” – great song that I probably haven’t played in a few years! Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Kyla’s wonderful “Something’s Happening”.

    • What a song! I love that song!

  8. Mostly to Christmas time.

    Bother. Hit the wrong tiny button on the mobile browser.

  9. I like the song “I’m Glad I Know Who Jesus Is” as sung by the Nelons. What a testimony of who Jesus is and what He’s done for us.

    • The version of that song I really like is the version with Joy Gardner, Kelly Nelon, Paul Lancaster , and Rex.

  10. I play Christmas music whenever I like. I just try to preface it with “I Can Still Celebrate Christmas” by the Talleys.

    I can still celebrate Christmas
    For the Light of the world is the Light of my life…
    So turn on those lights, put a wreath on your door,
    Show the world the truth that you know…
    Try Joy to the World in June or July,
    Ask a friend to sing along too!

    But I do like the songs to stay “special,” so I limit them mostly</i

    • Southern Gospel music is still special to me, even if I play it 365 days per year. 🙂

  11. My all time favorite song to hear in concert is the Oak Ridge Boys “Jesus Was Born Today”. Gets a standing ovation all the time.

  12. Cecil Blackwood’s “The Little Boy from the Carpenter Shop”

    • Wasn’t that done by the Florida Boys originally / earlier?

      • “The Many Moods of the Florida Boys”, Canaan Records, 1970. The first southern gospel record I ever bought.

      • That sounds right. Right era for sure; I originally encountered it on a compilation, so my memory was a little fuzzy on the original album specifics.

  13. Amen-Larnelle Harris? Its a Christmas, Easter, and stand alone song.

    • Good one!

    • Also on the EHSS album. What about “Changed By A Baby Boy”? EHS does it year-round.

    • Here is the version to which I referred:

  14. Thanks for the help everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. How did we forget Its About The Cross?

    • I don’t know, but it is funny how, in this sort of situation, something always slips past us!

  16. There’s A New Kid In Town……….Keith Whitley

    • Here is my favorite version of that song:

      They recorded it on their second Christmas album, “Christmas Again” with William Lee Golden on lead, but I much prefer this version. On the other hand, Golden has my vote for “Thank God For Kids” on their first Christmas album, “Christmas” over Steve’s rendition. In fact, that is one that just mentions Santa Claus, but made their Christmas album. I would also put their “My Son” on there as as well as Mercy’s Well (and others) on “Who Is He In Yonder Stall”. Both have Christmas content, but also go into the crucifixion.