West Ham Archdeacon Elwin Cockett asks that an old festive tradition inspires good

PUBLISHED: 10:22 16 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:22 16 November 2016


It has been quite a year. What with Brexit and Trump, you might feel “stirred up” quite enough, but the ancient Christmas tradition of “stir-up Sunday” could help you start Christmas in the right spirit.

Back when Christmas puddings had to be prepared at home, rather than bought from a shop, it was traditional to make them around the time of‘stir-up Sunday, in November.

Each member of the family would take a turn to stir the pudding mixture, making a special wish or prayer for the year ahead. A prayer used in churches at that time of year asked God to “stir up” his people to do good work.

So, in a year when plenty of negative emotions have been stirred up, let’s be positive: What good work could we encourage each other to do? There’s no shortage of options, and Recorder readers will have plenty of ideas, but I would like to give a plug to Crisis, the charity working with homeless people.

Not many people know that Crisis at Christmas, as the charity used to be known, was started in Newham by a vicar. He was moved by the scandal of homelessness in London and wanted to do something about it.

What started in Newham has become a national charity helping homeless people across the country.

To be homeless is bad at any time of the year, but to be homeless at Christmas is horrible. By making a donation through you can make it possible for a homeless person to receive some welcome support this Christmas.

So, if 2016 has left you feeling stirred up in the wrong way, let me encourage you to stir yourself to find ways to make a difference. More from Elwin

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