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
– Collect for the day, Sunday Next Before Advent, The Book of Common Prayer
So why ‘Stir-Up Sunday?’ Well- over the years the opening words of this prayer have been conflated with the tradition of making your Christmas puddings over this weekend in order to give them plenty of time to mature before Christmas Day. It’s the last Sunday before Advent begins.
We don’t do Christmas pudding in our house; not enough to make it worthwhile cooking our own anyway. But this morning I did look out our family Advent Calendars to show you. Years ago when our children were tiny, we bought the enchanting Advent Calendar and Story set The Story of Christmas.
First open the calendar to find twenty four tiny board books retelling the Advent and Christmas story: from the OT prophets through to the Annunciation, Nativity and the visit of the magi. Then you’ll see that every book comes with a tiny gold thread attached so that you can hang it up on your Christmas tree each day after you’ve read it. Over the years ours have survived two children four cats and three dogs. ( One book sports doggie tooth marks!) Not one has ever been mislaid, even if several have narrowly escaped being packed away in the loft with the Christmas tree. The calendar really does seem to go on forever. Imagine my excitement when the other day daughter sent me a picture of a certain something she’d spotted in an NYC store. Yes, The Story of Christmas is still on sale!
Advent Calendar number two is a real work of art from Cloisters Museum of the New York Met. Peep behind each window to find treasures from their collection.,It could be the next best thing to visiting, (especially if you live 3,000 miles away!) and what a wonderfully different way of counting down the days to Christmas.
As for our third calendar, it’s still in the making. Do come back tomorrow to learn more about how I’m planning to mark Advent on Holding Heaven.