‘’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’’.
Have you heard of Stir Up Sunday? It’s not something we celebrate in America, but my blogger friend April introduced me to it here. I couldn’t find any information about how long this day has been observed in the UK, but it comes from the beginning collect from the Book of Common Prayer, which dates back to 1549 (quoted above). Stir Up Sunday occurs every year on the last Sunday before Advent, which puts it on November 22 this year.
Some time during the 1700’s, this day became synonymous with the day British households make their Christma puddings. According to April and the powers that be at Wikipedia, a Christmas pudding needs time to age to flavor perfection. And four weeks is just about the right amount of time. Now I have some soup recipes that are better on the second day after all the spices and flavors meld, but I cannot imagine making anything that I would eat four weeks later. No offense to the English. I love a good tradition, but I will pass on the Christmas pudding.
I do, however, appreciate the original intent of Stir Up Sunday – to prepare our hearts for Advent and allow God to “stir our hearts” to focus on the season and all it entails. So I’m starting a new tradition and adopting the practice of Stir Up Sunday. But without the pudding.
3 Ways to Observe Stir Up Sunday
- Remember Jesus. And I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 2 Peter 1:13 ASV If you aren’t already, get in the Word. Read through the gospels. Pick an Advent Bible reading plan. The gals at shereadstruth.com have a great one every year. There are multiple free ones on the YouVersion app, or kick it old-school and browse a bookstore. Listen to praise music, start a new prayer journaling practice, anything that will “stir up” and shake up your normal routine and make you more mindful of our Savior.
- Love Others with Words and Actions. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV In Jesus, we have the hope the world needs. Brainstorm ways you can share that hope this season. Help provide a Thanksgiving dinner to a family in need. Serve at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Invite your neighbors to church. Donate toys to an organization that serves the underprivileged at Christmas. Invite the new girl at work to lunch. These are just a jumping off point. Come up with your own creative and thoughtful ways to throw love around with abandon and encourage another to do the same! You will feel God’s pleasure in the process.
- Make Disciples. And about that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way. Acts 19:23 ASV The early verses of Acts 19 give us background on this verse. For two years Jesus’ followers had been preaching and prophesying, baptizing, healing and performing miracles. Because of their faithful work, many confessed, believed and professed Jesus as Lord. And verse 20 says, So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed. Who in your circle of influence needs to hear about Jesus?
What ideas do you have for observing Stir Up Sunday? I would love you to share in the comments. And get out there and stir it up, mix it up and shake it up! You can even make a pudding if you want.
And now for this week’s featured post!
I was so encouraged and personally motivated by A Thread of Unity by Nylse of lifenotesencouragement.com. I love how she looked to her history (and honored her mother) for direction for her future. And I want to answer, “yes”! I can you be strong as thread, weaving hope and unity wherever I go?
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