In December 2015, I wrote a few verses of doggerel which I had the cheek to call a carol. This was subsequently set to music by Kevin Stannard, of the University of Wolverhampton, and sung by the University’s Staff Well-Being Choir at the University’s carol service on 14 December 2016:
A Carol for Stir-Up Sunday
In the damp and the dark and the cold of these days,
O stir up our hearts, Lord, recall us to your ways,
Your coming, so soon, Lord, but seeming delayed,
We offer you our hearts, O God, our Saviour we praise.
Our bowl it resembles a hole or the cave,
From which our dear Lord rose, our lives for to save,
We stir in the currants, the rum and the peel,
And long for the time when God’s Son he’ll reveal.
Christmas At Last Comes, God’s Word to be Fleshed,
Our Worship, our prayers, and our praises are blessed,
And next you’ll return, Lord, come back to us soon.
Our stirring all done now, we’ll all lick the spoon.
– Collect for the Last Sunday Before Advent (25th Sunday After Trinity) (Book of Common Prayer, 1662)
Stir up, we beseech thee, Oh Lord,
The wills of thy faithful people;
That they, plenteously bringing forth the fruits of good works
May be plenteously rewarded;
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
On this day (the last Sunday in the Church’s year) wives made the puddings and cakes for Christmas, assisted by the children. Advent was about to begin, Christmas not far off. I well remember, in the 1950s, stirring the mixture – and licking the spoon.