November sees the church year
drawing to a close, with the new Church year beginning afresh on Advent
Sunday. As any season nears its end it
brings with it the need to reflect and remember what has gone before and in
many cases those we have sadly lost. November is no exception with many
churches holding memorial services for those who have died and of course
Remembrance Day when we think of the servicemen and women who lost their lives
during WWI, WWII and other conflicts. But November is also a time for looking
forward and not only to fireworks lighting up the skies on November 5th.
‘Stir up Sunday’ falls on November 24th this year and is the day when traditionally families in Victorian times would gather together to stir up the ingredients that went into the Christmas pudding. The ingredients at one time numbered 13 because superstition had it that this represented Jesus and his 12 disciples and the pudding mixture would also be stirred from East to West reminiscent of the Wise Men travelling to see Jesus.
How do you like yours, home-made or shop bought? In my family they have always been home-made and I remember quite clearly my first attempt as a new and enthusiastic young mum wanting the traditions of my childhood to continue for my own expanding family. With the birth of our first daughter, the planning for the family Christmas had fallen into my hands and there was no time to lose! There was no waiting for ‘Stir up Sunday’ for me, during the first week of September I totally ‘went for it’ and made 8 Christmas puddings with the obligatory CD of the Choir of King’s College singing carols in the background. Steaming 8 puds was to prove a little tricky however. Under telephone instruction from my mum, I steamed the first 3 slowly on the hob for many hours, carefully remembering to top up with boiling water from the kettle when necessary. However, it was only when my husband arrived home from work that we discovered the wallpaper on the ceiling in the hallway was hanging off in enormous bubbles of dripping papier-mache!!
Whatever is going on in the world at the moment and however we feel about the news headlines, looking back and reflecting is a wonderful tool for looking forward. How should we do or say things differently in future? What areas of our lives do we need to ‘stir up’ and alter? Perhaps we crave a career change, have a hankering for a new hobby or maybe we need to phone or visit someone who might like a bit of company. How many of our New Year’s Resolutions lasted into February, never mind November?
The bible recommends not putting off until tomorrow that which you can do today and I totally agree……..unless that is you feel like steaming more than one pudding!!