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Despite having recently posted a screed against the awful and sometimes pernicious banality of holiday music, I felt inspired, this Christmas night, to offer something to acknowledge that however confident the case that supports it, a rule that admits of no exceptions is simply dogma, and thus immediately suspect.

In the attached interpretation of the classic Yuletide song, the Skydiggers manage to remain true to the original while effecting an extraordinary musical rejuvenation. If you want to get into the spirit of the Christian ideals that so often seem forgotten in the organized practice of Christianity, this is the thing. You may find yourself, as I did, really listening to the words for the first time, and finding hope in its sorely needed message of decency and kindness.

The arrangement is both moving and understated. The trumpet accompaniment in particular is sublime, and a little mournful, perhaps bringing to mind all those who never benefit from the sort of charity offered to this poor peasant by his humane and caring monarch, that stormy night of the second day of Christmas, over a thousand years past.

Merry Christmas, everybody. May the new year lift our spirits as powerfully as 2017 made them sink.

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