PEACE LIGHT TO BRIGHTEN IOWA AGAIN THIS YEAR
“The Peace Light” from the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem will once again burn brightly throughout the Mid-Iowa Council and your troop, pack, or crew can join in spreading its flame around the World. The flame will be available for you to receive Monday through Friday, December 11 through December 23 in the lobby of the Maytag Scout Center. Bring a lantern or long-burning devotional candle to transfer the flame and share it with people in your community. You can transfer the flame from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
For 33 years the International Scouting movement has actively promoted global peace and harmony during the Advent and Christmas seasons through the distribution of the Peace Light from the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Each year, a child from Upper Austria is named that year’s Peace Light Child. He or she travels to Bethlehem to receive the flame from one of the Grotto’s oil lamps where it has burned for over 1,000 years. The light is then flown to Vienna, Austria, where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations of Scouts from across Europe, who in turn take it to their countries, with a message of peace. The Peace Light is shared with individuals, families, houses of worship, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and cultural centers – with anybody who can appreciate the significance of this “gift.” Each year the light is passed to over 30 European countries and, for the past 17 years, to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Following the distribution to European Scouts in Vienna, the Head of Security from Austrian Airline carries “the Light” from Vienna in two explosion-proof British mining lamps, fueled by smokeless paraffin oil, to the United States. This year’s “Light” will arrive at Kennedy International Airport in New York on December 6 where after a brief ecumenical service held in the airport chapel “the Light” will begin its journey with Scouts and Scouters throughout North America. The light travels by a modern version of the pony express being handed off in towns and at rest areas along the interstate highways. From there it travels to the largest cities and the smallest towns. Local Scouts and Scouters fetch the flame from Scout Offices and share it in churches, use the flame to light the candles on their Advent wreaths, pass the flame from person to person during candlelight Christmas Eve services, present the flame to the community at tree lighting events, and deliver the flame to shut-ins and those experiencing loss, illness, and hardships, in addition to sharing the light in individual homes. “The Light” will arrive at the Mid-Iowa Scout Center Offices on Wednesday morning December 11 at 9:00 AM after being received the previous night from a Scouter who will have delivered the light to St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Lincoln, and Omaha. This will be the 11th year the Peace Light will be shared throughout the Mid-Iowa Council. However, the sharing of this flicking flame is much older than that.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem has burned continuously in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem for over 1,000 years. It is meant to promote peace, harmony, unity and love among the people of the world regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. Have you discovered a meaningful way to teach good citizenship during the holiday season? You should consider having your pack, troop, or crew designated a Messenger of Peace unit by helping share “the light” of Bethlehem here in Iowa.
For information about designating your units a Messenger of Peace unit go to https://www.scouting.org/messengersofpeace.aspx