The Story of "The Songs We Sang That Night", a Christmas Song by Daniel Carter

What If We Were the Angels Singing on Christmas Night?

A friend and I were talking about Christmas music, and he posed the question of what if we were the angels that sang on Christmas night? It intrigued me. I wondered what that scene might look like, what it might feel like. I wrote the words for the new song Christmas season of 1979, and wrote a tune for the song shortly after. The song was performed by a friend at a Christmas party. The thing I remember most about that evening was that my friend, Kelli Allred and I never rehearsed before we performed. We spoke briefly on the phone and agreed on what to perform, then met at the party. As we were walking to the piano together she whispered, "Hang on to hat and try to follow." I chuckled and she returned with, "I'm not kidding." Intimidated, I tried my best to pay attention to her interpretation. She delivered a very heart-felt gift to all of us. I will never forget it.

Despite her wonderful interpretation, I found the music a little too predictable and not satisfying. Finally several years later, I wrote new music for the words and was satisfied. I think the time for Kelli and I to do an encore performance is nigh. A thirty year gap seems a bit too long.

The Words to the Song

No jeweled crown upon His head,
No velvet clothes were worn,
But swadd'ling carefully dressed the King
Whose crown would be of thorn.

The stable and the manger bed
Would do for this sweet, newborn King of Kings.
For whom else would a new star shine
And hosts of angels sing?

"Hosanna to his name!" sang angels dressed in white.
"Good will toward all men!" we shouted with delight.
"For unto you is born," we said,
"A Savior in a manger bed—
The blessed Prince of Peace."

And I can almost hear again
The songs we sang that night
As tears of joy return once more
Recalling that sweet sight.


Published by Neil A. Kjos Music

Arranged as a two-part choral piece this song is easy to learn and enjoyable to perform, and evokes warm feelings of imagining what it might be like to be a witness of the birth of Christ as a member of the angelic choirs.

Sheet music is available through all major sheet music retailers. If it is not in stock, you can request it and they can special order it for you. Order online conveniently at Day Murray Music.

Two other compositions by Daniel Carter are available through Kjos Music: For the Beauty of the Earth and May the Lord Bless You and Keep You.

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Comments 8 comments

triosol profile image

triosol 6 years ago

very impress with your stype of writing :)

Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 6 years ago from Western US Author

Thank you, triosol!

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

What a nice surprise. I enjoyed your tribute to the songs we sang, took me by surprise, hooked my and it was a pleasant surprise. Thanks :)

Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 6 years ago from Western US Author

Thanks, katie! Thanks for stopping by!

Lani 6 years ago

The paintings by Freed are amazing and the music is also.

It is such a tender song . . the words are beautiful

and I love the thought that we may have been on one the angels that sang in when Christ was born.

unBroken1 profile image

unBroken1 6 years ago from Florida

Thank you for the beautiful song.

I'm a bit jumpy tonight and it calmed me.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for sharing these wonderful songs and pictures. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 6 years ago from Western US Author

Thank you, Lani, unBroken 1, and Hello, hello for stopping by. Music has such a great capacity to calm and heal.

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