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It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Advent

by ajack last modified 25 Nov, 2021 01:11 PM

While Advent Wreaths and the lighting of the first candle will begin our services this week. Last week it was all about the Collect and the Christmas Cake.

Stir Up Sunday marked the end of one year, and this Sunday our churches and their congregations will begin a new Church year and begin their countdown to Christmas. 

Advent is time for reflection in darkness, for renewal of hope and for a movement towards a beginning. It is a season of expectation and preparation and this Sunday that will be marked across the diocese with the blessing of Advent wreaths, the lighting of the first Advent Candle.

Last Sunday, churches celebrated Christ the King, the final celebration in the Church Year. But this, the last Sunday before Advent - has another name -  Stir Up Sunday. It gets its name from the beginning of the Collect for the Day in the Book of Common Prayer, which begins with the words, "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people". 

But Stir Up Sunday has also traditionally been the Sunday when the Christmas Cake is stirred up and this has become a part of many churches celebrations. In the Golden Cap, Ros Woodbridge's Stir up Sunday video became an unexpected hit of Lockdown and It was back this year. The video is directed at children, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages. click here to watch

The Collect for the First Sunday in Advent  is meant to prepare the congregation for Advent and to ‘stir them up’ to be mindful of the season and all it means.  

The season of Advent, as it first emerged in the Church in the fourth and fifth centuries, lasted, like Lent, for 40 days. Later tradition developed the Advent we know today, of four Sundays before Christmas Day. 

It is a season of expectation and preparation as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming of Christ. Church decorations are simple and sparse, and purple is the traditional colour used.

Advent falls at the darkest time of the year, and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work throughout Advent and Christmas. 

The Advent wreath is usually a circle of greenery with five candles rising from it.

There are four candles on the outside that are purple (sometimes one is pink) and the candle in the middle is white. The candles are lit in the same order each week so that by the fourth week, the candles have burnt down by different amounts. (The pink candle can be lit on the third Sunday, known as Gaudete or 'Rose Sunday'.) The white candle, appropriately named Christ Candle, is lit on Christmas morning, 

We would love to here how you celebrated the start of Advent in your church or school, so please send your stories, pictures or videos to

and if you are not already planning to attend your local Advent Sunday service, you can find what your church is doing, by visiting their website, Facebook page or by clicking here. 

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