It was shaping up to be a Japanese Christmas like any other.

The familiar posters advertising Christmas cake were up at my station, and the same old carols were piped over speakers at the local department store. The tinsel and wreathes had already been cleared from the shelves of the 100 yen shop to make room for Shinto New Year's goods. The wellspring of Yuletide cheer seemed as dry for me this year as ever.

And it would probably have remained so had I missed the holiday concert led by gospel singer/songwriter and music instructor Garrison Davis. New Jersey born, but a Japan resident of five years, Davis has assembled a choir -- mainly comprised of Japanese singers, but with a smattering of others from the United States, the West Indies and the Philippines -- which proves on stage that even if it gains few converts, Christianity can still ripple the spiritual surface of this country.