Christmas songs about shepherds are beribboned with luminous inspiration from the Bible’s Nativity story.
Our playlist collects some of the best Christmas songs about shepherds to dust your day with some festive spirit, whether you’re looking for a Nativity track that’s traditionally Christian or captivatingly contemporary instead!
Christmas Songs About Shepherds
1. City Church San Francisco – Rise Up Shepherd And Follow
Although City Church choose not to capture that true Christmas sound we expect, their 2020 performance of Rise Up Shepherd And Follow puts a stunning twist upon festive music.
This track steps away from the clichés that often burden the season, instead laying the timeless Nativity story upon a masterfully inspired bluesy gospel sound.
A maturely restrained yet enticingly rich instrumental gives rise to Nicolas Bearde’s classic vocal tones, highlighted by a sax solo, brass harmony and a double bass.
Rise Up Shepherd And Follow describes the shepherds’ first appearance in the Nativity scene, its lyrics illustrating how the shepherds were instinctively drawn towards the Christmas star and words of the angel;
“There’s a star in the East on Christmas morn, rise up, shepherd, and follow, it will lead to the place where the Saviour’s born.. leave your flocks and leave your lamb.. Follow the star to Bethlehem.”
In true blues style, the title lyric, “rise up shepherd and follow,” resounds after every line, anchoring its message in the call for belief and active adherence to the Lord’s word.
2. King’s College Cambridge – While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
Composed in 1700, this traditional church hymn has been a staple piece of Christmas music for over 300 years, resounding every Christmas season through Catholic and Protestant churches across the world.
This 2011 choral rendition by the King’s College Cambridge evokes the candle-lit, incense-smoked ambience of traditional old European churches, brought beautifully back to life during each festive period.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night’s antique lyrics use their title line as a launchpad to detail the angel descending from the heavens, telling them of Jesus’ birth and guiding them towards their Saviour;
“While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground, the angel of the Lord came down and glory shone around. ‘Fear not,’ said he, for mighty dread had seized their troubled mind, ‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring, to you and all mankind.’”
3. Hearts Of Saints – The Shepherd’s Song (God With Us)
Hearts Of Saints base their 2012 single, The Shepherd’s Song (God With Us), in one of the oldest stories known to man, whilst crafting their lyrics into a modern indie-pop depiction of a Nativity scene.
Centring their track in the moment the angel Gabriel appears to the shepherds, Hearts Of Saints keep the sentiment of a traditional Christmas at the heart of their lyrics;
“An angel appeared, to the shepherds and spoke, ‘Glory!’ As they trembled with fear, he said ‘Don’t be afraid, I come with good news: the Saviour is born on this day.’”
The Shepherd’s Song (God With Us) is a bright-shining song of praise to the Father and his Christmas-born Son, set upon a plush, wintery landscape instantly evoking the festive spirit, and the omnipotent power of God felt profoundly across the West during the Christmas season,
“On a cold, cold night, so long ago, the skies rolled back, what a sight to behold … And from that night ’til now, the joyous refrain, oh it grows stronger still, in the hearts of the saints, and it cannot be silent, oh we loudly proclaim, ‘Glory!’”
4. Sidewalk Prophets – Oh What A Glorious Night
Sidewalk Prophets lace their country track with cute indie pop highlights, mirroring the childish sweetness of the Christmas season.
Their 2013 song, Oh What A Glorious Night, inadvertently continue the Nativity story from where Heart Of Saints’ track above left off, detailing the scene where the shepherds appear at the stable and first lay eyes on the Lord.
Keeping a golden sense of celebratory praise as the track’s main focus, Sidewalk Prophets place the ancient story against an upbeat contemporary soundscape, instant filling the room with that heart-warming feeling spread in abundance at Christmas time;
“The shepherds came to see the baby, stood by his mother’s side, here laid the Saviour inside a manger, oh what a glorious night. I hear the angels singing hallelujah, let the earth receive her king… Jesus Christ is born.”
5. Angie Killian & Shane Mickelsen – The World’s Smallest Shepherd
This 2019 Christmas song by songwriters Angie Killian and Shane Mickelson is performed adorably by child singers, giving an instant, warm glow of Christmas ambience to the track.
The World’s Smallest Shepherd is a clean and soul-nourishing contemporary hymn which looks at the birth of Jesus Christ from a unique perspective, reflecting the wondrously imaginative conclusions of a child.
Basing their lyrics around the Nativity’s shepherds travelling to behold Jesus’ birth, Angie Killian describes the inspiration for this track as “the irony of shepherds kneeling before the tiny Saviour; shepherds with flocks of sheep and lambs kneeling before the Shepherd of us all.”
This creative insight weaves itself beautifully throughout the track, creating a wholesome hymn for any family;
“The world’s smallest shepherd, they came to behold… He would rescue His lost sheep and love each the same. Did the shepherds know that the baby, asleep, was the world’s smallest shepherd, and they were His sheep?”
6. Lowand Ham – We Are The Shepherd
Lowland Ham’s 2017 release, We Are The Shepherds, is a soft acoustic track imagining the shepherds’ Nativity adventure from their own point of view. This is a beautifully modern song with a spiritual, aura-cleansing atmosphere, weaving the male and female voice together in peaceful harmony.
We Are The Shepherds describes the shepherds travelling across the Biblical landscape, using mesmerising imagery and inclusive lyrics which place you at the heart of the Nativity scene;
“We are the shepherds we walked cross the mountains, we left our flocks when the new star appeared, oh, the beautiful singing of heavenly choir, we had to come see Him, we had to come here.”
Underlying Lowland Ham’s track is the sentiment that wealth carries very little value in the eyes of God.
They symbolise this through the shepherds’ sincere gesture of belief through the small offering of a candle, which is received just as perfectly as the expensive gifts of the Kings; “We bring you this candle it’s all we have with us, but with it the new Saviour has His first light.”