Holiday tunes offer inspiration, hope

Holiday tunes are everywhere. It’s not to the point where Christmas music is played year-round, but it definitely gets its time to shine. One Birmingham radio station was already playing holiday favorites by Halloween. Whether I am in a store, in my office or in my car, I am constantly hearing Christmas tunes. Even in our newspaper, Jennifer Cohron and Rick Watson wrote columns this week on Christmas music. The constant hearing of holiday hubbub got me thinking about some of my favorite Christmas songs. Like most people, I cannot narrow it down to one holiday favorite. My wife, Andrea, mentioned her favorites were “O’ Holy Night,” “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey and “Last Christmas” by Wham. Much like my wife, I also choose my favorite Christmas songs come from a wide spectrum of musical genres. I like to sing some of the classic Christmas songs like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Frosty the Snowman.” I am not too impressed with their lyrical content, but when I sing them, I do attempt my best Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Durante impersonations. I like several Christmas hymns. My favorites are “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger.” Those two really paint a picture in my head. “Silent Night” sets the mood of that entire night, while “Away in a Manger” gives me a picture of Jesus as a small baby in a stable. It is definitely very moving to think about what that night must have been like. I am also a big fan of what I call Christmas protest songs. Two of my favorites in that category are “Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder and “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon. With the current condition of our world, songs like those strike a chord with me. Here are a few of the lyrics from “Someday at Christmas” that make it special to me: “Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys Playing with bombs like kids play with toys One warm December our hearts will see A world where men are free Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars When we have learned what Christmas is for When we have found what life’s really worth There’ll be peace on earth ... Someday at Christmas we’ll see a land With no hungry children, no empty hands One happy morning people will share A world where people care.” With all the chaos and conflict in the world today, those lyrics should resonate with all of us. My favorite lyrics to a Christmas song come from what I have realized is a little-known ditty by Jackson Browne. The song is entitled, “The Rebel Jesus,” and its words are quite poignant. Here are some of the lyrics: “Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’ And they call him by ‘the Savior’ And they pray to him upon the seas And in every bold endeavor And they fill his churches with their pride and gold As their faith in him increases But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in

From a temple to a robber’s den In the words of the rebel Jesus “Well we guard our world with locks and guns And we guard our fine possessions And once a year when Christmas comes We give to our relations And perhaps we give a little to the poor If the generosity should seize us But if any one of us should interfere In the business of why there are poor They get the same as the rebel Jesus.” I hope we can all take time this Advent season to reflect on what Christmas means to each of us, and how we can make the most of it. “So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer from a heathen and a pagan on the side of the rebel Jesus.” James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or