A reflection about for Advent and Christmas from our Team Curate, Rev Hannah Lane

winter holiday tinsel and lights
Peace for Advent & Christmas
This year I’ve been asked to do a short reflection to support the collective Worship at Bolton St. Catherine’s Academy; the topic I was given was ‘Peace’. Now, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Nativity story, each year we hear it over and again: the greatest tale ever told! For my reflection on peace, I focused on the Shepherds. An iconic part of any nativity story, we hear of them only in Luke’s Gospel and only in the second chapter. They come into the narrative and then are never heard from again. Except for every single year on Christmas Eve. The shepherds are the first people to hear the Good News.

Peace on Earth and goodwill towards men! proclaim the angels, but we don’t often focus enough on the word ‘peace’. Peace looks different according to context -where and who you are- in our current world; peace in some places might mean the end to fighting, for others it might mean getting away from a busy life of caring for family members, for some it might just mean a minute of calm and quiet, in prayer maybe?

The thing is, the job of the shepherds in Luke’s story is to maintain their peace, not to rush around, but simply to be there to witness the multitude of angels and their message of peace. As Christians, we sometimes think that Christmas is our opportunity to tell people everything we possibly can and Jesus – the good news of the Bible, how this baby grew into the man who dies on the cross at Easter and how – is the best news ever, and, and, and…

But that isn’t peaceful.

So, rather than sinking into overwhelm this Advent and Christmas time, try to preserve your peace. Think about what that looks like, what the good news of peace on earth and goodwill to all men looks like to you, here, in Bolton in 2023. Don’t be tempted to rush to everything and pack your time so tightly that by Christmas Day you’re too tired to enjoy what it really means; try to find some peace.

Rev Hannah