Today, if you are a certain kind of Episcopalian (that is American at least), is “Stir Up Sunday” or the Third Sunday in Advent. It’s called “Stir Up Sunday” for two reasons. First the collect for this day in the Book of Common Prayer reads:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and
the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
But the “Stir up Sunday” of earlier Prayer Books is the Sunday before Advent or late November. In the earlier Books going back to 1549 the Collect of the Day 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.
Second, the Collect, in England, became not just a call to God or to his people to do good works, but it became a reminder to “stir up” your Christmas cake or pudding. If you took the Prayer Book as guide, you’d realize that Americans need less time from “stir” to pudding than our co-religionist in the UK.
We were stirred up into getting our tree between Tucker’s two NC Boys’ Choir concerts of the day — one at the service at Duke Chapel and one evening program at Christ Church in Southern Village. Both went very well. Christ Church concert was filled to overflowing and the boys sounded great in that space.
The Boys Choir will be doing their annual Christmas Concert in Duke Chapel next Monday.
Our tree this year will be outside our window dressed with food for the birds, deer, squirrels and whatever else shows up. We will have lights and popcorn and apple slices and suet and whatever else we can find to share with the life in our yard.
There is a magnicent stirring up in the skies now as well. The Geminid shower is called by PhysOrg, “the Best Meteor Shower of 2004,” and the peak is said to be tomorrow night, December 13th.