Winter Revolution: A Holiday Playlist for the Rest of Us

5 12 2010

9. John Lennon – “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”

Why it’s on the list… I love the message of this holiday classic.  “War is over… if you want it.”

Everyone’s done a cover of this song — Maroon 5,  Neil Diamond, ‘N Sinc, The Fray, Celine Dion, Melissa Ethridge. My favorite cover is Sarah McLachlan‘s. And all this popularity despite the single’s use of the *ahem* controversial “Xmas” spelling.

Interesting fact: I’ve taken a few linguistics classes in the past and I can tell you that long before anybody was ever concerned about “secularization,” the letter “X” has been used as an abbreviation for “Christ” in the English language. And by “long before,” I mean pre-Shakespeare. It’s because in Greek, the word “Christ” starts with the letter “Chi,” which is represented by an X-shaped symbol.

And yet, an awful lot of people seem to think “Xmas” is some heathen plot to undermine Christianity. Heaven forbid any of us actually learn anything about the history of our own religious practice. Sigh…



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One response

8 12 2010

Great playlist! And I agree that the “Praise Santa” segment from Boondocks is pretty great! “Revolution” as a Christmas selection is a great idea, too…

I’d throw in some classics like “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” (simple yet profound) and “O Holy Night” (bit of abolitionist commentary).

I’ve been listening to a classical rendition (from the London Philharmonic) of Messiah over the last few holiday seasons. There’s some good stuff that Jones didn’t include. I had “Thou shalt break them” (from Ps. 2, follows the verses sung in “Why do the nations rage…”) stuck in my head last week. And of course, there’s the famous “Hallelujah Chorus”: “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ…” Hallelujah, indeed…

Have you heard Beck’s “Little Drum Machine Boy”? Hilarious and fun. 🙂

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