The Advent of the Christmas Season Posted on

The Advent of the Christmas Season

Share this: The Christmas season, as celebrated by Jane Austen (part of a middle class Clergyman’s family) would have begun on “Stir up Sunday”– the last Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent (four Sundays before Christmas). Stir Up Sunday, a reminder that now was the time to “Stir Up” your Christmas pudding so that it would have ample time to age before the coming holiday, was actually named for the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer: 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. Unlike the frenzied holiday rush now experienced during the weeks before Christmas, the less commercialized Georgians used the time of Advent, which actually marked the beginning of the Liturgical year, as a time for reflection, penitence and even fasting. This is not to say that there were no celebrations or festivities to mark the season– far from it– the rest between harvest and planting allowed workers and landowners alike a chance to relax and turn their time to more entertaining pursuits– courtship, weddings, visiting and balls. Still, Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming”) allowed time for the spiritually minded to turn their thoughts towards the first coming of Christ (Christmas) and prepare their hearts and souls for the ever imminent Second Coming, when all Christians would be caught

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