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Viewpoint from Rev Rosie Bunn 18/11/2016 

rosie bunnRev Rosie Bunn
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Burgh Castle and All Saints Church, Belton
also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

Christmas seems to be the topic of conversation at the moment; have you started buying your Christmas presents or, like someone I spoke to recently, are yours all purchased, wrapped, and stored away in a selection of bags awaiting delivery to the different destinations.  I’m nowhere near that organised, there’s plenty of time!
dove leftAs a family, thinking about and preparing some of the food for Christmas in advance has always been an important custom.  Whether you have a Christmas pudding al a Mary Berry, Nigella or Delia Smith (if you make one) you will know that tradition dictates that it is usually made on or before Stir-up Sunday, which this year falls on Sunday 20th November.  As a family we try to have both cake and pudding made by then and it is that wonderful smell of baking that triggers my need to prepare for the Christmas celebrations: both for the family at home and the church family
Stir-up Sunday gets its name from a Collect prayer found in the Book of Common Prayer for the last Sunday before Advent, and as a prayer after communion in the more modern book of Common Worship within the Anglican Church, but is widely used by the media to promote a cooking frenzy at the end of November
Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people, that they bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be richly rewarded: through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen 
Dove rightThis year in my churches, as part of the service, we shall make a Christmas cake to be enjoyed at our Carol Services.  What fun to share in the making of the cake and for everyone to have a good stir!  What a challenge to invite God to stir up our desires; that as followers of Jesus we might make good choices for spiritual growth, and have inclination and self-control for such spiritual disciplines as prayer and reading the Bible.  The fruitfulness of a spiritual stirring is not just beneficial to the individual, but to the church, the community and the lives touched as a result, and how we so need a greater stirring of our wills and more lives transformed by our loving God
So I will be praying that prayer with real meaning wanting God to stir up the wills of his people; to motivate us in prayer and worship and in the social action (works) that is the natural fruit of hearts on fire with love for God