St Mary’s Church Coddenham

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From the Rectory – Stir Up

by | Nov 23, 2023 | Coddenham Church, News

christmas pudding

Christmas is coming and preparations have begun.  Today is Stir-Up Sunday, the day to stir-up the Christmas pudding mix.  This puzzled me for many years.

Christmas puddings need time to mature if they are to be their best, so who is still mixing the pudding this close to the big day?  Surely by now it should be resting in a cool, dark place; gently absorbing the brandy with which it has been liberally soaked.

 In the beginning (well 1549) the call to ‘Stir up’ had little, if anything, to do with puddings.  Stir up we beseech thee O lord; …. As I’m sure many will know, are the opening words of the Collect for the final Sunday of the church’s year.

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[1]

At some stage it became the fashion to mix the Christmas Pud today, and recite at least the opening words of this Collect at the same time.  A good pudding needs a mix of ingredients and these need to be carefully blended if we are to avoid a stodgy failure.  Over the centuries the seasonal pudding has changed a lot; from something akin to a soupy mix of meat and spices (frumenty) to the dried-fruit-rich specimen that so delights today.  I suspect that what suited 14th century tastes wouldn’t suit ours.  In short, the pudding has evolved over time but at it’s core remains a mix of rich ingredients – all enthusiastically stirred up.

Like a good pudding, we need stirring from time to time; we also need to evolve and change.  Called to be fruitful, we all-too-easily fall flat and stale when left unstirred.  Today we are reminded that we are called to serve God in serving others.  All of us have talents; God given for the building of his kingdom and the benefit of creation.  This Advent, may God stir us all to the good works he calls us to.

And the Christmas pudding?  If you haven’t made yours yet, it’s not too late; get stirring!

Rev’d Philip  Payne                                                                Stir Up Sunday         The Notice Sheet for 26th November can be found here

[1] Book of Common Prayer. Collect for 25th Sunday after Trinity;


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