Stir Up Sunday is this Sunday! Or…it’s not!
So – the tradition of Stir Up Sunday is a fun nickname for the last Sunday before Advent. In Anglican tradition, that collect is “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. Amen.”
Since the rubrics for this collect is that it is always to be read on the last Sunday before Advent, it becomes a sort of signal that Advent is near. Stir up your will! And….your Christmas Pudding.
Christmas Puddings are a British Christmas Tradition, and need to be assembled and cooked well in advance of Christmas. Thus “Stir Up Sunday” became a good reminder to get your Pudding together.
So, all well and good. A fun liturgical food tradition. Except, we American Episcopalians messed it all up with the “new” Book of Common Prayer from 1979.
Our rubrics have the last Sunday before Advent as Christ the King Sunday, with the collect for the last Sunday of the liturgical year (Proper 29) in the 1979 BCP praying “that all the peoples of the earth may be brought together under the ‘most gracious rule’ of Christ, ‘the King of kings and Lord of lords'”.
Anyone else enjoying the irony of the Americans adding in a Sunday with imagery of a monarchy? No? Just me?
The collect for the third Sunday of Advent does begin with the prayer “Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us. . . .” My family has long had the tradition of putting up our Christmas decorations on the “pink candle” Sunday in Advent, so maybe we’re starting our own “Stir up” tradition.
But if I do a Pudding, I think I’ll stick with the Brit timeline…