Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peace Light of Bethlehem

The Peace Light of Bethlehem came to our house today.

Don't know what that is? Neither did we until this morning!

Our neighbor, Pavlina, came with her lantern to bring the light to us that originated in Bethlehem this Christmas season!

What started in 1986 as part of a Christmas charitable activity for children with disabilities and those in need in Austria, has become a tradition carried out around the world today.

The year after that event, Austrian Scouts took up the tradition and began to spread the flame from Bethlehem to various institutions - hospitals, orphanages and offices in order to signify the flame as a unique living symbol of peace, brotherhood, hope and love during Christmas.

In the years following, more Scouts began to take it to other European countries, and today it makes it way around the world.

Each year, a child from Upper Austria travels to Israel to get the light from the grotto in Bethlehem that symbolizes where Jesus was born.

The light is carried in two blast proof miners lamps on an Austrian Airlines jet from Tel Aviv, Israel to Vienna, Austria where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries.

This morning the flame was being carried across the Czech Republic, and Pavlina got up early to meet the train with her lantern, and take the light from Bethlehem back to her home.

She was so thoughtful in walking it over to our house so that we too could have it burning throughout this Christmas season as a symbol of our hope for peace being in Jesus, born in Bethlehem long ago.

It's also meaningful since we were in Bethlehem just this year!

What a beautiful tradition! And what a blessing to have it come to our house today.

Pavlina's picture from the train this morning, after she'd received the flame from Bethlehem!

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