The light of the season will arrive in time for Christmas in Hagerstown — the Peace Light is coming to the Mason-Dixon Council of Boy Scouts of America on Thursday.
For more than 1,000 years, a flame has been continuously lit in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel. Each year, as has been the tradition for the last 26 years, a Scout from Upper Austria has been chosen to light two blast proof miner’s lamps from the grotto flame.
The lamps are then carried on an Austrian Airlines jet from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Vienna, Austria, from where the Peace Light 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.
Since 2004, Austrian Airlines has flown the miner’s lamps containing the Peace Light from Vienna to New York City. Boy Scout leaders from the United States light their lanterns from the miner’s lamps in New York, and spread out across the United States and Canada to share the Peace Light.
The Peace Light will be received with an arrival ceremony on Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. at Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts of America office at 18600 Crestwood Drive in Hagerstown.
The Peace Light will be available during the weekday from Dec. 1 to 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the council office. The council asks that if visitors wish to take the light with them, they can bring an oil lamp or an enclosed candle to light.
The Peace Light is a physical reminder of the reason for the Christmas season. The council invites the public to take the light to their homes, houses of worship, hospitals, homeless shelters, retirement homes and places of public and cultural importance to anyone who appreciates the significance of the “gift.”
The Mason-Dixon Council serves nearly 2,500 youth in a variety of programs in Washington County, Fulton County, Pa., and southern Franklin County, Pa. For more information, call 301-739-1211 or see www.peacelight.org or www.mason-dixon-bsa.org.