Stir-up Sunday

Stir-up Sunday is an informal term in the Anglican Church for the last Sunday before the season of Advent.

The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and later (a translation of the Roman Missal's collect "Excita, quæsumus"):

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.

Through an association of ideas, the day subsequently became connected, especially in England, with the preparation of Christmas puddings in readiness for Christmas.

In the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and later, this collect is listed for "The Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Trinity", with accompanying rubric specifying that this collect "shall always be used upon the Sunday next before Advent". This reinforced the significance of this day as forming part of the preparation for the season of Advent. The rubric is necessary because the last Sunday before Advent does not always fall on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity: Trinity Sunday is a moveable feast and the Advent season is fixed, so the number of weeks in between varies from year to year.

In recent years, most provinces of the Anglican Communion have adopted the practice of the Roman Catholic Church in observing this Sunday as Christ the King (sometimes under the name the Reign of Christ). Popular attachment to the Stir up collect has, however, caused it to be retained (in contemporary language) in the liturgies of several provinces. The Church of England's Common Worship uses it as the Post-Communion, with a rubric stating that it "may be used as the Collect at Morning and Evening Prayer during this week".

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