My prep for Christmas is so-so this year. I’ve got gifts lined up and have thought about our meal, but work is crazy busy, I’m already planning meetings in 2023, and I have a Christmas pudding mixture sitting in the frig unstirred. Yup. Unstirred.

In England, the Sunday before the start of Advent is known in some denominations as ‘Stir Up Sunday’. The name comes from a 16th century prayer used on that Sunday that begins, Stir up, we beseech thee O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people. Supposedly, the cook of the house would go to church, hear the words, ‘Stir up…’, and be reminded that it was time to start making the Christmas pudding. To get a great Christmas pud, they say, it needs to be mixed, stirred and matured for about a month. There are other fun stirring-the-pudding traditions, but ‘Stir Up Sunday’ has nothing to do with puddings! It has to do with asking the Lord to stir us, rouse us, rekindle us.

At the end of the sermon last Sunday I wrote in my notebook: NUMB? Ashleigh asked us to think about what  angel visitations, pregnancy in a virgin womb, Jesus’ humble birth, angelic host appearing to the lowest-of-the-low, a star sent to guide the way mean to us. Are we in awe or are we numb to the wonder of Emmanuel, God with us?

Although it’s 18 December (and whether or not you are making Christmas pudding from scratch) let’s ask the Lord to stir us up so that the wonder of our Saviour’s birth sinks in and matures in us in the next week.

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people,

that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,

may of thee be plenteously rewarded, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen   

Book of Common Prayer

Sue McQuay