Chris Tomlin is best known in contemporary Christian music circles for his popular worship music but has become synonymous in recent years with his chart-topping Christmas music.
Tomlin, though, would tell you they're one and the same.
In 2021 he released a holiday album, Emmanuel: Christmas Songs of Worship, which was recorded live and included 12 tracks, including guest appearances from CeCe Winans, We The Kingdom, Blessing Offor and Matt Redman.
It was his third Christmas album, following the release of 2015's Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship and 2009's Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship. Both include live recordings.
"I always approach Christmas albums as worship," Tomlin told Christian Headlines.
Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship was No. 12 on Billboard's latest ranking of Top Christian Albums and peaked at No. 1, having spent 50 weeks on the chart. Emmanuel was No. 42.
A live worship Christmas album, Tomlin said, is unique in the genre.
"When I first did it, I thought I'd never heard of that before," Tomlin told Christian Headlines. "Everybody makes Christmas in these massive big productions, and I thought, 'You know, when O Come All Ye Faithful was written, [the author] was writing a worship song for His church. That was a song for the church. I try to keep that perspective and bring that to the song."
The modern version of O Come All Ye Faithful is often attributed to John Francis Wade, an 18th-century church layman.
Tomlin's albums include a mix of classics and originals.
Emmanuel, for example, includes I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; and Oh Holy Night. Among the classics on Glory are Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; Joy to the World; and O, Holy Night. Adore includes O Come All Ye Faithful; Silent Night; What Child Is This?; and The First Noel.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.