It’s grown quite fashionable to shake one’s fist in the face of Christendom’s distinguished history of cultural imperialism, but millions of resultant believers seem relatively content with their lot. I for one am thankful that Albion’s pagan hordes were overrun by God-fearing despots. I’d much rather have been born and raised Christian than been damned to observe the tacky (and melanin-level-inappropriate) sun-worshipping of my British forbears. (It has also grown quite fashionable to bemoan centuries-old wrongs against ethnic groups with which one pretends an enlightened kinship—Esther Iverem’s ludicrous Post review of the Guggenheim’s African art show several months ago springs to mind, as does her better-educated reader’s well-reasoned rebuttal—so I don’t see why I can’t erase with a swipe of the pen the sufferings of ancestors about whom I know quite little.) What occasions such thoughts is a delightfully buoyant collection of Christmas songs advancing both fundamentally pre- and post-takeover solstice agendas (Vocal Sampling’s “We Wish You a Merry Christmas/Rhumba Navidene” and the Caribbean Jazz Project’s “Michaux Veillait/Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” hew to the former, Angelique Kidjo’s “O Holy Night” and John Scofield and the Wild Magnolias’ “Go Tell It on the Mountain” support the latter, and the preternaturally pleasant Cesaria Evora’s “Natal” embraces all). World Christmas is a benefit album with its own expansionist goals, hoping to promote the worldwide growth of the Special Olympics movement, an ostensibly less controversial cause I also feel inclined to blithely support. Some medieval poets believed that similarity of sound signaled consonance of meaning, and, as Vocal Sampling repeatedly demonstrates, “Navidad” rhymes with “felicidad.”

—Glenn “Tidings We Bring to You and Your” Dixon