What's your favorite?
Away in a Manger. Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Joy to the World. Oh Come All Ye Faithful. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. The First Noel. Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. We Three Kings of Orient Are. Deck the Halls. Carol of the Bells. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
Would it not have to do with memories of special times and people brought to mind when you hear them? Perhaps the twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, with presents stacked underneath? Maybe looking at the snow fall outside the window on Christmas eve. Or a group of friends going "caroling." Or your parents taking you out to view all the pretty lights while the radio plays carols. Or the laughter and good times of a Christmas meal.
I think the appeal of carols is universal...a reminder of home and loved ones, of good times, and of sad times, of family members a long way away or who have died. While it's not a carol, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" perfectly expresses the emotions that carols awaken.
They're also music much needed in this helter-skelter world we live in, peace amid the hassle, reminding us that there is something more important that shopping, and non-stop commercial noise.
My favorite? I think it's the first carol I remember hearing. For some reason ever since I've heard it, a specific picture has come to mind. It calms me as I think of a cold, starlit night, a field of snow, and a solitary house or shed, with warm light poring forth, smoke rising in the still quiet air, and people gathered around a newborn baby, basking in the glow of the warmth of new life and love.
"Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is quiet... ."