Quite the bummer of a Christmas tune, especially when wedged between Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree or some other fluff about Frosty or Rudolph.
This was a 1971 anti-Vietnam protest song, but the pretty melody copped from the folk song Stewball (about a race horse) has made it a Christmas standard. In addition to being covered many times, the song depresses those better-off-than-most by being the soundtrack to commercials urging donations to various developing country causes.
Of course, the message of peace is important, and Christmas is a good time to be reminded that the world need be a better place. Still, it is simplistic to sing that war is over if you want it to be, and the Vietnam War went on another four years after Lennon’s plea.
Also by Lennon here: Imagine