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christ-bowl… fa lalala la, lala la la!  
I usually feel like King Canute at this time of the year – raising my arms, seeking to hold back the relentless tide of Christmas festivities washing tsunami like over the beaches of Advent – the “little Lent” –  the season of preparation, reflection and fasting. My church folk, Christmas decorations in hand, have regarded me quizzically when I go into one of my “It’s not Christmas yet” rants, shrugging their shoulders as if thinking “How odd –  another one of his eccentricities!” as they set about  decorating halls and singing carols. And me – I’m thick into the round of “end-of-year” parties (I refuse to call them Christmas parties ‘cos it’s not Christmas yet!) and – just to demonstrate my inconsistency – shamelessly promote The Christmas Bowl – a seasonal fund raiser for the aid arm of the National Council of Churches.

So this year I’ll mellow out a little. Some battles you throw in order to win bigger ones.