Today is the Epiphany, the celebration of the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi, who followed the star that led to them the manger (Matthew 2:1–12). This manifestation showed Christ to be the light of the world. And now, a couple of millennia later, we are able to physically share the light that comes from his birthplace, and what it represents, through the Peace Light.
If you’ve never heard of this light, which comes directly from Bethlehem, you can take a look at this website that aims to help others spread this light through North America. It explains:
“For more than 1,000 years, oil lamps have continuously burned at the grotto at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Each year, safety permitting, a child from Upper Austria travels as a pilgrim to obtain the flame. During the Third Week of Advent, a Service of Dedication is held in Vienna, Austria to share the Light with Scouting delegations from across Europe. Scouts return to their own countries and with a message of peace, share the Light with churches, hospitals, retirement homes, and places of public, cultural and political importance — to anyone who appreciates the significance of the gift.”
This light helps to promote “peace, harmony, and unity among all people of the world – every race, ethnicity, and creed,” according to the website.
While the Peace Light only made its first trip across the ocean in 2000, it played an important part in spreading friendship and peace after 9/11 when the light was brought over to mortuary workers at Ground Zero, and another flame was brought to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City as a message of love to the city and its people after such devastation.
Today, the Scouts have a pivotal role in continuing to spread this light throughout North America. In conjunction with the Austrian Scouts Movement and Austrian Airlines, the light is brought over to New York, where the local scouts go about sharing the light so that it can shine brightly across North America.
If you’d like to locate the light and spread its warmth in your own community, the Peace Light website can update you on events, and where the light can be found.