Greetings from the Rector
November is a rich month in terms of the church calendar. We enter through the celebration of All Saints Day on November 1st but almost imperceptibly we move into All Souls Day on November 2nd where we commemorate the faithful departed. A few days later, people will gather in churches all over the country to take part in services of Remembrance as we remember those who have died in past and present conflicts. November 26th ushers in the celebration of Christ the King as we worship Jesus risen, ascended and glorified before returning once again to the beginning of the church calendar with Advent Sunday. These milestones in the church’s year remind us that we are a community of pilgrim people, travelling together on a journey, learning, sharing, supporting and rejoicing.
The last Sunday before Advent is also often referred to as “Stir up Sunday”, its name taken from the Collect for the day that invites us to be stirred up by God to good works and righteous living.
Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Traditionally it has also been the day when the Christmas pudding was prepared ready for Christmas Day. This is a tradition that harks back to Victorian times when whole families would come together to stir in the ingredients. According to tradition, Christmas pudding would contain 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples. It is stirred by each member of the family from East to West, to remember the Wise Men that visited Jesus in the Nativity Story.
The customary garnish of holly represented the crown of thorns. Adding coins to the pudding was said to bring luck if you found them in your portion on Christmas Day although biting down on them may hasten a visit to the dentist!
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews has something to say on this matter. He writes “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10: 24). With this in mind, may we as God’s Pilgrim people work together to build a better world in which people can live in harmony with one another and justice and equality can be found in every place.