The Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organized by the Austrian Broadcasting Company – ORF (Linx) – and was part of a large charitable relief mission – Light into Darkness, for children in need in Austria and abroad.
The flame was ignited in the presumed birthplace of Jesus and, through the aid of a European company, is being shared with the global Christian community.
“Austrian Airlines — this is a project that they have been doing for over 20 years now — would fly one younger person from upper Austria to Bethlehem and they will pick up the light in a ceremony and it is flown back to Vienna, Austria,” said Pastor Ron Welborn. “It is transported in what is known as a blast-proof miners lamp.”
Each of the European delegations come to the sight in Austria for a lighting ceremony and blessing. From there, they take the light back to their respective countries and communities and the light begins its journey through the continent, Welborn said.
“For the last few years, Austrian Airlines has been flying it across the Atlantic to New York City and there is a ceremony there and again it begins to pass and go,” he said. “In New York, a lantern was lighted in what we call a second lighting and it went to various communities.”
This year, a Boy Scout troop from Columbus, Texas was able to bring a piece of the light home after a trip to Independence, Missouri.
Members of the Seguin First United Methodist Church congregation made the voyage to Columbus, Texas for another lighting ceremony and brought it to Seguin on Sunday, Dec. 13.
“The ORF-Light of Peace from Bethlehem is not a magical symbol which is able to bring peace by itself. It tries to remind us all to bring peace to our world and it tries to raise awareness for peace in our every day life. The small flame which is passed on from candle to candle, from hand to hand should be a sign for peace between us all.
Just like the light is given from one candle to another, peace should be spread as well. On the 24th of December millions of homes will have the ORF-Light of Peace from Bethlehem in their homes as a symbol for global awareness, that peace is the one thing that binds us all together.”