... in 'stir-up Sunday'

Published on 21 Nov 2019
A person making Christmas biscuits

Sunday 24 November marks the Feast of Christ the King. As the Collect for the day begins with the words: “Stir up we beseech thee, O Lord….” the day has become known as ‘Stir up Sunday’. In earlier times it was traditional to consume what food was in store before the Fast of Advent, but I don’t suppose anyone fasts anymore for Advent or for Lent.

In our house, as in many others, it was the time when Mother prepared the Christmas puddings, cakes and other goodies for the Festive season. In the kitchen she gathered together the rich spices, peel and currants she had squirreled away in jars throughout the year for just this occasion. Out came the biggest mixing bowl and in went all those rich ingredients. There was great excitement in the house as we children knew that in due time we would be allowed to stir the mixture, and perhaps lick the spoon! With any luck there weren’t too many squabbles or too much mess, but we were children! Once we had finished Mother shooed us out of the kitchen so that she could get on. Father would then drop a silver three penny piece into the mixture. Now it is important to note that the silver content far exceeded its face value, in today’s money I think, so Father only had this one valuable coin available. On Christmas day one lucky person would find that silver coin in his or her piece of pudding.

It all seems so long ago! I don’t suppose anyone makes a Christmas pudding nowadays. After all, a click of a button on the computer will have a fully prepared one delivered to your door along with the rest of the groceries in an instant. But as the prophet said: ‘Your old men shall dream dreams’ Joel 2:28, so you must excuse me.

Yet those old memories still have an important message for us today.  Remember that once the rich pudding has been eaten the silver coin remains. Now think about that for a moment; the apparent riches, position in society, and trappings of wealth we have today will not last.  Like the silver coin, the one valuable thing that will last, for all eternity, is Christ the King.