Ode to Joy isn't strictly a Christmas hymn, but its verses reflect the same exuberance of creation's praise that we find in Psalm 98 and in Joy to the World. The line that "stars and angels sing around thee" certainly recalls the Christmas stories of Matthew and Luke alike. We're urged to remember that since all creation joins in the praise, it is "unbroken," continuing on since the dawn of time in one unending hymn.
It's Beethoven's birthday (and also that of the boy pictured above), so it's an appropriate day to sing this simple melody that so perfectly catches our sense of unbounded joy. Beethoven set the melody to a poem by Friedrich Schiller (actually Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller), an die Freude for his 9th symphony, but the words we use in English were penned by Henry van Dyke, inspired by his own love of the Berkshire mountains. van Dyke was a Presbyterian pastor and poet who presented this hymn to President Garfield in 1907.
May you join in creation's praise today, even if the only living thing you see in the wintry landscape is a small boy.