Getting Stirred Up!
by Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To mix a Christmas pudding while sharing hopes and aspirations for a better world.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a large glass mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.
- You will also need the following Christmas pudding ingredients, weighed separately, each kept in its own food bag, ready for the assembly:
75 g currants
75 g sultanas
75 g raisins
50 g mixed peel
25 g glacé cherries
85 g soft brown sugar
85 g suet
100 g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon self-raising flour
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
2 medium eggs
1 apple, can be grated and added later to moisten mix, or a little orange juice
- Ensure that there will be a table or other surface to set your equipment and the ingredients out on during the assembly.
- Prepare the stir up prayer in the ‘Time for reflection’ section for display.
- Set up the table, bowl, spoon and ingredients before the children arrive for the assembly.
Explain that the Sunday before Advent is known as ‘stir up Sunday’. The name comes from the tradition of mixing Christmas puddings on that Sunday. Establish that ‘a tradition’ is something done year after year on a certain date or at a certain time of year.
- Describe how, according to the tradition, families mix the pudding together so that each member of the family can make a Christmas wish. Ask the children, ‘What would be your Christmas wish, not just for yourself but also for others? How might the world be made a better place for everyone?’
Allow the children a few moments for reflection, then invite some of them to share their hopes, stir the pudding and also, perhaps, secretly make a wish for themselves!
- As hopes are shared, add the ingredients to the bowl one by one, helping the children as necessary to stir them together. It’s important to keep the assembly itself stirred up and moving, too! Affirm and reflect back the hopes to link and develop strands of thought. Contributions might relate to concerns about care and friendship, the BBC’s Children in Need Appeal, items of world news and environmental issues.
- When all the ingredients have been added and stirred together, explain that the next stage is to allow the mixture to stand overnight. The grated apple or a little orange juice can be added if needed before the mixture is transferred into smaller bowls, wrapped tightly in foil and steamed or boiled in a slow-cooker for eight hours. The puddings will then keep until Christmas. Many changes we long for, like Christmas puddings, may take time, but we need to remember and hold on to our hopes!
- Conclude with a word of encouragement to those who have not been able to participate. Maybe their turn will come should the tradition be followed next year!
Time for reflection
Show the children the display version of the following prayer you created and mention that it is based on a prayer traditionally said for stir up Sunday. Invite everyone to spend a few moments focusing on the hopes that have been shared and say the prayer together.
Stir us up,
to think how we can help others,
share the fruits of friendship
and make life rich and rewarding.
‘Give us hope, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 87)
‘Today’ (Songs for Every Assembly,Out of the Ark Music, 1999)