Christmas Songs that Declare Universal Salvation

Christmas Songs that Declare Universal Salvation December 25, 2022

‘Tis the season for Christmas songs that declare universal salvation for everyone.

Snowy Christmas trees with blue globe ornament in between
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Flipping through popular music of the season, I’m astonished to find how many old carols and new Christmas songs espouse universalism. Here are some excerpts from a few favorites. (Bold print indicates my emphasis on certain words.) These indicate that Christ came to fling salvation upon all the earth.

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear – Edmund Sears

For lo! the days are hastening on,

by prophet seen of old,

when with the ever-circling years

shall come the time foretold

when peace shall over all the earth

its ancient splendors fling,

and the whole world send back the song

which now the angels sing.


Light and Life to All

Universalism is a belief held by many Christians, that the love of God triumphs over all sin, darkness, and ignorance. Author Rob Bell famously dethroned himself from the hearts of evangelical Christians with his amazing book, Love Wins. He makes the audacious claim that Hell is not a region of eternal conscious torment that God designed for the majority of the human population as many Evangelicals believe. Instead, he says that if even one soul is lost then Satan has defeated God in the struggle for humanity. If love is to win, every soul must be saved. Eternal light and life must be not just available to everyone but bestowed upon all people.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Charles Wesley, George Whitfield

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings

Risen with healing in His wings


Evangelicals hate to hear that Jesus brings life and light to all. Evangelicalism believes that only a select few will escape infernal torment. Universalism declares that the Sun of Righteousness shines upon everyone. Jesus’ light and life are for all people.


The Whole Landscape Announces God’s Reign

The old favorite “Joy to the World” declares that Jesus is the sovereign of all creation. When the songwriter speaks of “the earth,” he means nature itself. In him, every nation is blessed. The whole landscape announces God’s reign. From fields and floods to rocks, hills, and plains, the sounding joy of universalism echoes throughout creation. Salvation is not just for humanity, but for the Earth itself. When the songwriter speaks of “the world” and “the nations,” he means the whole human family. “He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found” means that Jesus gives salvation to the same extent that sin has enslaved humanity.

Joy to the World! The Lord is Come – Isaac Watts

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;

let ev’ry heart prepare him room

and heav’n and nature sing,

and heav’n and nature sing,

and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.


Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ,

while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat, repeat the sounding joy.


No more let sins and sorrows grow

nor thorns infest the ground;

he comes to make his blessings flow

far as the curse is found,

far as the curse is found,

far as, far as the curse is found.


He rules the world with truth and grace

and makes the nations prove

the glories of his righteousness

and wonders of his love,

and wonders of his love,

and wonders, wonders of his love.


With His Blood Mankind Hath Bought

The author of “The First Noel” invites every human to sing God’s praises. Not just all Christians, but the whole of Earth. Because it wasn’t Christians who are bought by Jesus. It is all of humankind. Yes, Jesus is the King of Israel—but that sovereignty goes beyond ethnic or national borders. The songwriter declares that when Jesus died on the cross, he bought all humankind. (Of course, we must pardon the archaic masculine language of “MANkind.”)

The First Nowell – Traditional English carol

Then let us all with one accord

sing praises to our heavenly Lord

who hath made heaven and earth of nought,

and with his blood mankind hath bought.


For All the Universe

In their song, “Christ is Born,” the carpenters go beyond the idea that Christ redeems all humankind. More than a savior for humanity, Jesus is the Prince of Peace for the whole universe. This is a great example of how Christmas songs tend toward universalism.

Christ is Born – The Carpenters

Glory, Glory to almighty God

And on earth peace to all men

Hear the joyful angels singing

Alleluia, Alleluia


He is born

Let us adore him

Christ the Lord

King of Kings

Prince of Peace

For all the universe

Alleluia, Alleluia


All Peoples in One Heart and Mind

According to

The text for “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” comes from a 7 verse poem that dates back to the 8th century. It was used in a call and response fashion during the vespers, or evening, service. The original text created the reverse acrostic “ero cras,” which means “I shall be with you tomorrow,” and is particularly appropriate for the advent season. A metrical version of five of the verses appeared in the 13th century, which was translated into English by J.M. Neale in 1851.

This song expresses universalist hope. For the original 8th-century author, Jesus was the desire not of some people, but of all nations. This binding of all peoples in one heart and mind is the author’s way of talking about salvation. When the whole world is filled with heaven’s peace, everyone will be saved.

O Come, O Come, Immanuel – J.M. Neale

O come, Desire of Nations, bind

All peoples in one heart and mind

Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease

Fill all the world with heaven’s peace


Man Will Live Forevermore

Boney M. shares this same sentiment in one of my favorites, “Mary’s Boy Child.” Instead of a select few who will live forever more, it’s all humankind. (Again, we’ll understand that the old-fashioned masculine “man” really means “humanity.”)

Mary’s Boy Child – Boney M.

Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day

And man will live for evermore because of Christmas Day

Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible said

Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today

And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day


Save Us All from Satan’s Power

The old carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” references not just universal salvation, but the danger we are saved from: Satan’s power. This view envisions a contest between Jesus and Satan. With Christ as the victor, everyone is saved. If even a single soul is unsaved, then Jesus is unsuccessful at best and defeated at worst. But the Bible declares Jesus’ victory over death, hell, and the devil. It concludes with the gates of the New Jerusalem always remaining open, a gesture of welcome at safety to all humanity. Jesus truly has saved us all from Satan’s power.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – English Traditional Carol

God rest ye merry gentlemen

Let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Savior

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan’s pow’r

When we were gone astray

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy

Oh tidings of comfort and joy


Lord of All

Churches often decorate their sanctuaries with banners declaring that Jesus is “Lord of All.” This is the message of the Polish carol, “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.” The repeated refrain says that Christ is Lord of all. But many disagree with the claim of their own church banners. Instead, they contend that Jesus is actually Lord only of those who believe in him. But this minimizes the sovereignty of Jesus. He is not some earthly ruler who makes his followers swear allegiance. Neither is he a political dictator who dominates all people. Instead, Christ is the redeeming power over all creation, cleansing and renewing the universe. It’s impossible to only save some. If that were so, then the universe would not be saved.

Infant Holy, Infant Lowly – Piotrowi Skardze; Edith M. G. Reed

Infant holy, infant lowly,

for his bed a cattle stall;

oxen lowing, little knowing

Christ the babe is Lord of all.

Swiftly winging angels singing,

bells are ringing, tidings bringing:

Christ the child is Lord of all!

Christ the child is Lord of all!


This Child Who Shall Redeem Us All

The German carol, “While By My Sheep,” tells the same story. It proclaims the child Jesus who redeems us all. The chilly Christmas night was not to save only the elect and frozen chosen. It was to redeem the world.

How Great Our Joy – Translated by Theodore Baker

There shall the Child lie in a stall,

This Child who shall redeem us all.

How great our joy!

Great our joy!

Joy, joy, joy!

Joy, joy, joy!

Praise we the Lord in heaven on high!

Praise we the Lord in heaven on high!


Universalism is the Only Option

If you listen to the carols we sing this time of year, you will find they are filled with references to universal salvation. Even churches that believe in limited atonement find themselves singing these songs, heedless of their universalist message. Christmastime is about ultimate love. As we focus on the indomitable love of God, universalism is the only option. Our hearts intuitively know this at Christmas time more than any other time of year.


‘Tis the Season for Universalism

At Christmas, we feel charitable. We give generously. Sometimes indiscriminately. “It’s better to give than to receive,” we say. In fact, when you can give without thought of reciprocity, it’s even better. Why would God’s giving be any less generous? If God gives salvation only to those who reciprocate with worship, then it’s a reciprocal arrangement, a transactional relationship. But that’s not what Grace is about. Grace is about God giving and expecting nothing back. This is how God gives. This Christmas, when you hear these words of universal grace and salvation for all, it’s time to take them to heart. ‘Tis the season for universalism.


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