4 December 2022

Overcoming fear: Peace of mind

Liz Hall

In the second of five Advent reflections, Liz Hall encourages us to find the inner peace that Jesus brings.

‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:20 and 21).

Take a moment to honestly assess the condition of your mind right now. It’s an intimate question, isn’t it? Believe me, I know some of the ‘first thought’ answers that have come up: ‘It’s a mess in here.’ ‘I don’t know if I’m coming or going.’ ‘I’m busy.’ ‘I’m tired.’ And there are many more like these!

Maybe the familiarity of Advent brings you a sense of relief, of routine, of focus and, in an interesting way, peace within the busyness. For you, this period might be the calm in the eye of the very real storm both ‘out there’ and possibly in your heart and mind as well.

Matthew 1:24

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Read the passage


‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’ (John 14:27). When your heart and mind are over-loaded, where do you access the foundation of peace that Jesus promises his followers?

Notice the order of this beautiful verse, which ends with the very words Joseph heard when his mind was likely in a state of trauma and fear: ‘Do not be afraid.’

As Jesus later echoes these words, he seems to command us to do what is possibly challenging just now: do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. Notice that Jesus first leaves his peace, then reminds his disciples – and us – that his peace is of him and for us, not ‘as the world gives’.


What is the world giving you in this Advent season?

While I don’t want to assume anything, it is likely you are getting more than enough of all that is discomforting, difficult to hear and see, worrying, even frightening. Bring what the world is giving you to the front of your mind, make a list if it helps, talk it through with a trusted friend, get it out into ‘his marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9 English Standard Version).


Read John 14:27 out loud four or five times. Give emphasis to a different phrase each time and begin to recognise how Jesus’ peace describes your safe space, the very way by which your heart is not troubled and you are not afraid.

Jesus is not commanding you to dig deep, protect your own heart and calm your fears by yourself, he’s inviting you to know that protection from trouble and fear is available through his peace. You won’t find it anywhere else.


Celebrate the small wins. Celebrate the times you recognise God’s peace at work in your heart and your mind. Celebrate when, in a moment of anxiety and fear, you are gently reminded through Matthew 1:20 and John 14:27 that God’s peace is available always.


Father God, this Advent, remind me that ‘through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made’ (John 1:3). Jesus, let me rest into your gift of peace, finding a safe space for my troubled heart and protection from the things that frighten me. Holy Spirit, comfort me and journey with me.

Written by

Liz Hall

Liz Hall

Deputy Director, Family Ministries Unit

A photo of someone lighting a red candle with Christmas foliage around it

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