... in making the Christmas pudding
Amongst the variety of exotic foods for the festive season in the supermarket was, naturally, a wide selection of Christmas puddings. That reminded me of the Anglican Collect for the last Sunday before Advent, commonly known as ‘Stir up Sunday’: ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the will 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’
Traditionally it was the day when Mother would make the family’s Christmas pudding. Once the pudding bowl came out and the ingredients assembled on the kitchen worktop you knew Christmas was not too far off. Everything was in the bowl, so the children would be invited to take turns in stirring the mixture. Plenteous fruit was stirred into the Christmas pudding! Finally Father would come into the kitchen with a small supply of silver three penny pieces which he would ceremoniously drop into the bowl. The mixture was then tipped onto a muslin cloth, tied with string and placed in a saucepan of boiling water, there to steam for what seemed ages. The rich and inviting smell of the pudding cooking permeated the house. Although the Christmas cake had probably already been made nevertheless, it seemed that preparations for Christmas had started on that day! The next step would be to find the crib repair any broken parts and make the decorations. Not that anything would be put out yet, of course, but the excitement was in the air!
Nowadays, of course Mother will buy a Christmas pudding ready-made from the supermarket, and so the tradition has been lost, but Advent is the time for preparation for the coming of the Christ child.
Let us bring forth plenteous good works as we go through Advent. In particular let us not forget those for whom Christmas will not be such a jolly time.