Peace Light offers flame from Bethlehem

An Austrian tradition of celebrating Christmas with a Peace Light has come to Mid-Missouri for the first time.

Scouts and other organizations are sharing the holy flame that TMs on display in Columbia.

The Peace Light, sponsored locally by the Great Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America, is part of a worldwide effort. For more than 2 decades, scouts from Austria have distributed this ancient Bethlehem flame across Europe and North America. Everyone is welcome to come to the Boy Scout Headquarters in Columbia on Fay Street to receive the light.

Boy Scout Executive Doug Callahan said, Anybody in the community, whether it be our cub scout packs or boy scout troops or any member of the community, can come here to the boy scout office with a candle or lantern or something. We will transfer the light to them so they can take it back to their church or their organization to maintain it through the Christmas holidays.

The flame of the Peace Light originated in Bethlehem, Israel, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Biblical scholars say the Peace Light has been burning since 500 A.D. It originated at the Grotto in Bethlehem where servants have kept it lit 24/7.

Boy Scout officials said the Peace Light gives us hope, even though there is much darkness in the world.

Callahan said, It TMs not the first time that the Peace Light has been brought over to the United States from Bethlehem and Europe. This is the first time it TMs come to this part of the country. This is the first time we TMve been made aware of it. Hopefully, it won TMt be the last time.

7 years ago, the Peace Light made the journey to the United States for the first time. It has made the transatlantic crossing every year since.

The Peace Light is available for sharing at Columbia TMs Boy Scout Headquarters on Fay Street until December 22.