O Holy Night: A Song That Brings Forth Many Precious Memories [25 Days of Holiday Songs]

Hey everyone! Thank you so much for the positive responses to the “25 Days of Holiday Songs”! If this your first time joining me on the challenge, you can read the posts from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 by clicking on each day.

I also want to announce that I have created a playlist on Spotify. It features songs mentioned during the challenge as well as some recommendations. You can check it out here or below:

Moving on to today’s post, guest writer Amy Barnes picked a classical Christmas hymn. But, the memories behind this Christmas song is so deep and bittersweet. It will touch the hearts of whoever reads it. 

Click to read Amy’s heartwarming memories and her Christmas song pick!

O Holy Night. Three words. I only hear those words sung in the deep, cigarette-scarred voice of my maternal grandmother. It was her favorite holiday song even above Good King Wenceslas. She always lent her deep alto and hummed it in store aisles.

As a family, we sang holiday songs around the piano like a modern-day Little Women family. O Holy Night was her song. While I get chills from the Mariah Carey version, I can still my grandmother’s voice thirty years after her passing.  

I wish I had asked why that particular song was her favorite. Was it depression-era frugality and constant fear there wouldn’t be enough leading her to belt out “and the soul felt its worth?” I looked up the song’s origins even as I guessed she didn’t know the song’s history. Hymns and holiday songs were moments to express joy and peace and worship. She wouldn’t have known about the French songwriter and that the song was banned by the church. She might not have known of the truce between French and German fighters when another tenor broke out into a battlefield rendition. The song was simply a holiday gift.

Knowing the song’s history couldn’t bring me closer to her or the holiday as her simple piano-accompanied version. When her voice dropped the song below the melody line, there was a depth and gravity to the words.

We sang the song at her funeral on a bitter, Midwest afternoon. The lines that stood out at those moments became “a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and joyous morn”. As the cold winds blew around us, I could hear her voice echoing across the prairie once more. O Holy Night. And it was.


Here are some other popular versions of the classical hymn. Which one is your favorite?

28 thoughts on “O Holy Night: A Song That Brings Forth Many Precious Memories [25 Days of Holiday Songs]

  1. Edward/Vegz says:

    Songs indeed help us to bring old back memories not only that , the type of songs that we listen are the one that tell what timeline or decade we belong

  2. It’s definitely one of my favorite Christmas hymns. And there are so many different amazing artists who do it. I will have to check out the Michael Crawford one. I didn’t know he had done a version.

  3. “O Holy Night. Three words. I only hear those words sung in the deep, cigarette-scarred voice of my maternal grandmother. It was her favorite holiday song”’what a great memory to have. As a child I remember thinking this time of year is the best of them all. As an adult that changes but the memories never do.

  4. Mariah Carey sings good Xmas song, no doubt about it. Thanks for sharing your story with us about your grandmother. I guess you sure have some connection when you listen to her favorite so

  5. Jessica Hendricks says:

    I love O Holy Night! It’s such a classic and beautiful song. The perfect background music for a Christmas party. 🙂

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