""I Believe In Father Christmas"" as written by and Peter John Sinfield Greg Lake....
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winter's light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
'Till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
'Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish, pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
Hallelujah, Noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas we get we deserve

Lyrics submitted by kirotourmaline

"I Believe in Father Christmas [Single Version]" as written by Peter John Sinfield Greg Lake


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"I Believe In Father Christmas" song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentA devastating song from a disappointed soul. The singer remembers Christmas as it was promised to him as a child, with both Christ and Santa Claus as figures promising an essentially good world. In the light of his disillusionment, those memories are bitter, as he now sees the world as a fundamentally bad place, and the world of Christmas, as portrayed to him, as a lie.

    Part of Lake's disillusionment came from wars from the time the song was written (1974): the Yom Kippur War had just ended; the US had pulled out of the Vietnam War, which was a year away from its final conclusion. The video shows (nongory) scenes of American firepower being unleashed in Vietnam.

    The final stanza offers hope, or an ironic mention of hope: He wishes the listener the peace that Christmas is supposed to bring, but he supposes first that the listener has anguish, pain, and sadness to forget about. And he identifies the sorrowful state of the world as a conscious decision mankind has made: if the world is good or bad now, it is because the Christmas (and the world) we get, we deserve.

    The acidity of the lyrics is heightened by the joyful, beautiful melody and instrumentation that fits right in with other (much happier) popular holiday music. This song can be heard on the radio during December, and I imagine with every play there are many happy listeners humming along while another group of listeners hears the lyrics for the first time and exclaims "Jesus!", moved by the stark worldview it portrays.
    rikdadon October 22, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me this song is about waking up from childish delusions, seeing the world for what it really is, and the hopefulness and courage to make it better.

    Father Christmas? .... Set it aside. It's time to grow up.
    Fairy story of the Israelite (Jesus)? .... Set it aside. It's time to grow up.
    Peace on earth? ... Yes, but only if we make it so.

    No gods. No elves. Just us in the world and what we make of it.
    turantualon December 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQuite f'n true Rikdad. Spot on explanation
    Ed Joneson December 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was unfortunately out of print for many years, but a new version by Emerson Lake and Palmer surfaced in the mid-1990s. It's production is much more lavish.

    The stanza "And I believed in Father Christmas/And I looked at the sky with excited eyes/'Till I woke with a yawn, in the first light of dawn/And I saw him through his disguise." is the most bitter. "And I saw him through his disguise". He begins to see Santa as a lie.

    Rikdad sums it up beautifully in his/her take on the last verse. I think it is an ironic mention of hope. And yet, I think Greg Lake is being sincere when he wishes "All anguish, pain, and sadness leave your heart and let your road be clear." He offers hope, yet the road to this hope will not be an easy one.

    I must ask, which Christmas song is more depressing, yet brutally honest--this or Gordon Lightfoot's "Circle of Steel"?
    Susan_The_BassPlayeon November 25, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General Comment"I Believe In Father Christmas" is a song by Greg Lake (most famously a member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer), with lyrics by Peter Sinfield. Although it is often categorised as a Christmas song this was not Lake's intention. Lake claims to have written the song in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas. Sinfield however, claims that the words are about a loss of innocence & childhood belief.
    The song is often misinterpreted as an anti-religious song and, because of this, Lake was surprised at its success. As he stated in a Mojo magazine interview:
    "I find it appalling when people say it's politically incorrect to talk about Christmas, you've got to talk about 'The Holiday Season.' Christmas was a time of family warmth and love. There was a feeling of forgiveness, acceptance. And I do believe in Father Christmas."
    The song was recorded by Lake in 1974 and released separately from ELP in 1975, becoming the Christmas number two in the UK charts.[3] It is currently his only hit solo release. A second recording done by the full trio, with a more stripped-down arrangement, was included on the 1977 album Works Volume II. It was recorded a third time in 1993, for the ELP box set The Return of the Manticore, and Lake revisited it yet again for the 2002 Sanctuary Records compilation A Classic Rock Christmas. The song has also appeared on several other ELP and Christmas compilation albums. Mostly notable of these re-releases is a 1995 EP titled I Believe in Father Christmas, which includes Lake's original single as well as the Works Volume II version.
    The video for this song, the bulk of which was shot in the Sinai desert and Qumran in the West Bank, also contains shots of the Vietnam War, which has led to complaints from some that it should not be shown with light-hearted Christmas songs. These images of rocket barrages, air strikes, and mobile artillery are a violent backdrop to a peaceful-sounding song and create a hard-hitting message.
    The instrumental riff between verses comes from the "Troika" portion of Sergei Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé Suite written for a 1934 Soviet film, Poruchik Kizhe.
    sepultura1987on November 13, 2010   Link
  • -1
    General CommentMy comments on a Christmas eve 2011..
    "They said "There'll be peace on Earth",

    I agree, this is so commonly used during the over-commercialized Christmas season, but even more so, is the phrase misinterpreted.
    Some here apparently would like to hold these song lyrics up like a banner & say: "see! Christianity is a hoax like Santa, there is no peace on earth either"! If you assume that is what Greg Lake meant to imply (remembering this was his "younger" days writing in 1974) do you think he spent much time doing a theological study of the phrase spoken of?

    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor
    rests." (Luke 2:14)

    The word "Peace" here is presented as a gift.
    A gift to all of mankind? Well yes, it is available to all mankind. But it is technically a peace for those men "whom His favor rests"
    Meaning those that believe that God sent His son to die for their sins.. as a peace offering, for those who believe and follow Him.
    So, if the young man Greg (in 1974) who penned these thoughts & turned them into a song believes that "peace" on earth meant peace between every man in the world? Sadly he was misguided by them, those or "they"!
    Good song, good thoughts & expressions, but just not what the original phrase implies.

    To bring some further context to my comments I reference some additional phrases spoken by the "Prince of Peace" Himself:..Oh & Merry Christmas!

    "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring
    you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. (Luke 19:42)

    "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not
    come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34) (Division between those who worship earth as opposed to the "Creator" of the earth... or you you might just say judgment day)

    "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the
    world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid"(John 14:27)

    "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this
    world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
    (John 16:33)
    atseabeachon December 24, 2011   Link
  • -2
    General CommentGood song, with better, more insightful lyrics than most of Greg Lake's songs (due probably to Peter Sinfield co-writing it). However, it rips off the melody of the Hollies' "Jennifer Eccles"...
    TallCoolOneon September 08, 2007   Link

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