View from the community: Share good fortune this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 December 2018
I received my first Christmas catalogue in August, before I went on holiday, but now the decorations are up in the High Streets and advertisements are urging us to prepare for the great material feast of Christmas.
So, this week is when the church catches up and Stir-Up Sunday and then Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) urge us to prepare for the spiritual feast of Christmas too.
While the media are telling us how many shopping days there are to go, the church tells us how many praying days there are til the great celebration of the time, 2000-ish years ago, when Christians believe that God came into the world as a human.
Stir-up Sunday is so called because the prayer for this day, November 25, begins with the words “Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people” and five weeks before is about right for the Christmas pudding to be made, stirred and steamed ready to be put away for flavours to develop. Traditionally, each family member has a stir of the pudding and makes a secret wish, mostly, I suspect, in relation to their Christmas list!
And, while the world gets out its most glittery outfits, for partying, the church is plain and dressed in purple as we try to contemplate the holy truth of Christmas with its themes of love for everyone, especially those people who, like Jesus’ family, are poor and far from home.
We are also given opportunities to share our good fortune and, whether it’s texting a donation, writing a note that’s a bit more than just “Lots of love, XXX” in a Christmas card, or inviting a lonely neighbour in for a cup of tea, that’s exactly the sort of thing that God wants us to do.