Happy Xmas (War is Over) (John & Yoko) - listen / lyrics
It really wouldn't be much of an advent calendar without this song, would it? This song is a lot of thing that Christmas songs shouldn't be; it's ponderous, sad, and a bit preachy; its lyrics are, well, sometimes less sensical than, say, Frosty the Snowman. On the other hand, this songs is a lot of things that Christmas songs should be; it has a children's chorus, it doesn't pretend to a false cheer, and most of all it is driven by hope.
I usually don't say too much about what is going on in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as I really don't think that I know enough about either situation to make any kind of intelligent statement. Every Friday I struggle with the notion of supporting troops vs. supporting what they are doing, and I never reach an answer that's at all satisfying. But I think that whatever side of those conflicts you fall on, that whatever you believe about them, that you do wish them to be over, and in that respect, this Christmas song is perfect.
(As a small addendum to this, I would like to state for the record that I wish people would stop doing cover versions of this song. I was going to write "bad cover versions" but then I realized that all of them were bad. This song is so iconic--I think it's just as emblematic of Lennon, his life, and his work, as Imagine is--that it would be hard for any performance to outstrip, outshine, or even add anything new to what we know and love. And if you aren't doing any of those things, what's the point of doing the cover? Yes, yes, I know sometimes it's just because you "love the song so much" - but keep those demos for friends and family and don't inflict that on the rest of us. Thank you.)