Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 22nd November – Sunday before Advent (Stir Up Sunday)

Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 22nd November – Sunday before Advent (Stir Up Sunday)

So today we come to Stir Up Sunday. The day when many home cooks began their preparations for Christmas with the making of the Christmas pudding. The name comes from the beginning of the Book of Common Prayer Collect for the last Sunday before Advent. This 16th Century collect is much older than the making of the sweet Christmas pudding we know today, which is a distinctly Victorian affair. Prior to this, a Christmas pudding was a minced meat savoury pudding eaten before the roast meats on Christmas Day.

The traditions of Stir up Sunday deserve to be remembered with fondness. Each person in the household takes a turn to stir the pudding mix, making a wish for the year ahead whilst doing so. I certainly remember doing this with my grandmother. Although I do not remember the apparent practice of stirring the mixture from East to West, in honour of the three Wise Men!

Like the change of collect, the tradition of the family coming together to stir the pudding mixture has gone out of fashion. Two-thirds of British children have said they had never stirred a Christmas pudding mixture. I suspect the invention of the microwave had something to do with this. If you do not need to steam the pudding on Christmas Day, it is probably too much effort to have to steam a homemade one on the day you make it. It is surely a sign of the times that the contestants on the Great British Bake-off when faced with a pudding that needed steaming, could not work out how to fold the greaseproof paper and tie the string to make a handle! Even in households where the tradition is kept, many will not be able to join together with family as usual this year.

Maybe next year this is an opportunity, we as Mothers’ Union members, could offer in our local communities: giving children the joy of learning and sharing in making many of our traditional Christmas foods. It would also give us the chance to share the love of Jesus through our actions and our words. Bringing families together in a non-commercial activity which allows us all to stop and reflect on the true meaning of the coming season of Advent.

Even if this year we are alone making our Christmas Puddings and Cakes we can still take the opportunity to stop and reflect on all that Jesus has done and will continue to do for us – individually or as a family.

Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people;

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

may by you be plenteously rewarded;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

With all my love and prayers

Revd Sandra