‘Tis the season . . . where people complain about how the familiar Christmas carols are too overdone.

Granted, there’s some truth to the complaint. But this is a glass-half-full sort of website, so let’s look at ten Christmas songs that aren’t overdone.

  • At The Right Time (Booth Brothers, Carry On, 2007, on YouTube here): The Booth Brothers cut this Mosie Lister song on a 2007 table project. The Garms Family recognized the song’s potential as a Christmas song, using it as the title track for their just-released Christmas CD. But it’s not overdone yet! It would make a great album opener.
  • We Will Find Him (Michael Card, The Promise, 1991, on YouTube here): This song bursts with energy. It’s begging for quartet harmonines. And it’s so forgotten that it is as good as new.
  • Never Before, Never Again (Cathedrals, Raise the Roof, 1994). Seriously, has anyone cut this since 1994? And has anyone ever put it on a Christmas project?
  • Joseph’s Song (Michael Card, The Final Word, 1987, on YouTube here): This song is just waiting to be remade as a melodic bass solo (think Eric Bennett, Pat Barker, Gerald Williams).
  • Grace Has a Face (Greater Vision, Everything Christmas, 2010, etc., on YouTube here): Three or four major groups have cut this song over the last fifteen years. But it’s far from overdone yet.
  • Hand of Sweet Release (Gaither Vocal Band, Still the Greatest Story Ever Told, 1998, on YouTube here): Yes, the Gaither Vocal Band did a magnificent rendition which might be hard to top. But it’s been thirteen years now, and no major Southern Gospel group has recorded it since. That’s long enough for a solid new rendition to stand on its own merits.
  • Something’s Happening (Mercy’s Mark / Hoppers, on YouTube here): Both renditions by major Southern Gospel groups are on mainline projects. But the song’s opening lines—”Something’s happening in Bethlehem / from a stable a lonely light glows within / is that a Baby crying, there’s excitement in the wind / something’s happening in Bethlehem”—place it solidly into eligibility for a Christmas album.
  • Redeeming Love (Bill Gaither Trio / Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, on YouTube here): It’s not a Southern Gospel project without a magnificent big ballad, and this one is exactly what the doctor ordered.
  • God Himself the Lamb (Cathedral Quartet, Symphony of Praise, 1987, on YouTube here): After a first verse describing Abraham, Isaac, and the prophecy of Christ as the Lamb of God, the lyric plunges into the Christmas story: “When the Promise rang / unto Bethlehem this God reached down to man / and gave to us the only Son He had.” There’s nothing like finishing a Christmas project by completing the story and telling why Jesus came.
  • For What Earthly Reason (Cathedral Quartet, Symphony of Praise, 1987, on YouTube here): Yes, two songs on this top ten from one non-Christmas Cathedrals project. Much like “God Himself the Lamb,” the song touches on Christmas themes before moving onto Calvary.
Honorable mentions: Reaching (Gaither Vocal Band), Immanuel (Michael Card), Sleep Jesus Sleep (Sovereign Grace Music), Rejoice (Sovereign Grace Music), Yaweh (Hoppers), New Star Shining (Gaither Vocal Band).
There are plenty of excellent Christmas songs which are either original to Southern Gospel or well-suited to a Southern Gospel context. There may be other reasons to re-record the same songs everyone else has done—but lack of great newer songs isn’t one of them.