I'm not religious but I really like a lot of religious music. Plenty of proper, old-fashioned Anglican hymns (none of your hands-aloft nonsense) seem to be tattooed on my DNA; and I really love classic black gospel, the Soul Stirrers and the Swan Silvertones and Sister Rosetta Tharpe and all that.
Similarly, Christmas I can give or take, but I always used to get a little tingle when the Sally Army band showed up at Victoria station, especially when they got to 'In The Bleak Midwinter'. And I'll probably listen to the carols from King's College tomorrow. Call me predictable.
I did a YouTube search for a little Yuletide titbit to offer my long-suffering readers, and came across Peter, Paul and Mary singing 'Go Tell It On The Mountain', a tune I associate with the year I spent in Canada. It was great, but not quite what I wanted, and foolishly, I then followed a link to 'Puff the Magic Dragon' which is not only non-Christmassy, but also one of the saddest songs ever written: in fact, I'm tempted to say that the single line "A dragon lives forever but not so little boys" packs into nine words more pathos that Blake's entire Songs of Innocence and Experience and the final chapter of The House at Pooh Corner combined. Yeah, OK, I'm not afraid to say that it made me cry.
Which is even more unseasonal, I suppose, if you're worried about that sort of thing. So here's Mahalia Jackson. The footage is a bit primitive, but the old girl's got a decent set of pipes in her.
I won't presume to impose a Happy Christmas on you, but non-specific good wishes are coming your way, and a mince pie may be raised in your general direction. See you on the other side.