“You haven’t learned life’s lesson very well if you haven’t noticed that you can decide the reaction you want of people in advance. It’s unbelievably simple. If you want them to smile, smile first. If you want them to take an interest in you, take an interest in them first. It’s as simple as that. People will treat you like you treat them. It’s no secret. Look about you. You can prove it with the next person you meet.” ~ Winston Churchill
The holidays have jump-started and are in full swing with Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us already. Today is often called Stir Up Sunday. A Victorian tradition, it has been forgotten by many churches today. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer starts today’s services with this Collect;
“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.”
This urging prayer also reminded cooks to get the Christmas pudding made in plenty of time to mature before Christmas Day. One of the puddings has a coin cooked into it. Whoever gets that pudding should get worldly riches heaped upon them. What a fun and spiritual way to get all stirred up for the wonderful days ahead.
Churchill was a big advocate of Stir Up Sunday. He loved Christmas pudding too…with a tankard of brandy of course. He believed this season to be a fine time for stirring up our sluggish and sedentary wills that we might rise to action the slumber of our complacency. What a wonderful way to prepare for this season of good-will.
Good intentions are never enough. For the necessary passion must come not only from an exterior Sunday prodding, but from an interior fire to do what is right along with a consistent determination that only a resolved will can supply. It is up to each of us to recreate the message and mission of Christmas this year. For Peace on Earth will only come as a result of our own efforts. Let’s stir it up.