War is over, if you want it.
Indeed, when the Christmas angels confronted the Christmas shepherds (Luke 2), they gave tidings of great joy for all people: a Savior is born and because of him (cue a chorus of the heavenly host!) so is peace on earth and goodwill toward men!
Yet we humans rage on, warring between nations, against the poor and marginalized, against animals and the environment, and even against our own selves -- both body and soul. In fact, I would argue that many Christians around the world (but perhaps especially in the USA) have yet to come to grips with the truly great message of Christmas, the angels' good tidings, the phrase that John & Yoko again made famous in the 1970's.
So I wanted to pay tribute to Lennon's original Happy Xmas (War Is Over) song and video by putting together renditions of my own, for this age, and for this year in particular.
But the message was always intended to be more optimistic than what I've described so far (and what Lennon's original video ultimately amounts to). While my verses consisted only of violent imagery, they were juxtaposed with the choruses, depicting great masses of people working for justice through nonviolent resistance. Moreover, I was sure that my message of peace and hope would not be lost on those who could make it through to the end. The video fades to black only after several glimmers of hope, scenes of a place where peace is made and justice sought, on Earth as it is in heaven -- Word Up Bookshop in Washington Heights.
I've found Word Up to be a great beacon of hope in my neighborhood. It's a place where I see light shining through darkness, where I'm continually reminded that war is over, if I want it. So I wrapped on Christmas afternoon (no pun intended!), dedicating the project to Word Up, and finally released it on youtube.
I hope that you've taken the time to see the video above, that you are grieved by the images of war and violence and at the same time inspired and motivated by the great work that we volunteers are doing at Word Up. I hope also that you'll consider making a contribution, however big or small, to our present indiegogo campaign, so that we can better serve our neighbors by promoting Spanish-language literacy and programming. Anything you can give as 2014 comes to a close would be greatly appreciated by us all (and note, all donations are tax-deductible!)
My recording of the song may also be downloaded at noisetrade.com for free or a donation. All proceeds will benefit Word Up.
Here's wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!