The Light of Bethlehem in Schoenstatt
A light travels through Europe, wanting to remind all those who see and receive it, of its contribution to peace in the world
December 22, 2020 - Claudia Brehm
Every year, an Austrian boy lights a candle in the grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel. It represents the angels who proclaimed peace in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, a peace that is to be brought to the world. From Bethlehem it is flown with a special lamp to Austria, and then spread to other countries in Europe. In the Original Shrine it will also be waiting for them, so that the people can receive it there and take it home.
From Bethlehem, the Light of Peace in Schoenstatt
What happens in the Original Shrine? People arrive from various places with baskets in their arms with lamps and candles. They stand on the threshold of the Original Shrine, and then they open a large lantern that contains a lighted candle. From there, they light the candles that they themselves had brought. One woman said, “I come here to seek the Light of Peace from Bethlehem. My neighbors have asked me to bring them here as well. So I came with a basket full of lanterns and I leave with a basket full of lights for peace. But first I will go to the Original Shrine, to be with Mary, the woman who is light and peace”
What brings the light of Bethlehem?
It is a light that comes from the grotto of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, which should bring peace to the whole world, as it was announced by the angels two thousand years ago in the meadows of Bethlehem. This was the idea of the initiators of the campaign “The Light of Peace from Bethlehem”, which originated in Austria in 1986.
When they bring the original light from Bethlehem it is accompanied by hundreds of participants, as well as a delegation of Austrian politicians. Since 1994 the light has also reached “all people of good will” in Germany, through the Girl Guide and Scout associations. This year it will take place under the motto “peace transcends borders”.
By plane from Israel
The Light of Peace is transported by plane from Bethlehem to Vienna. From there, it is taken by a German delegation of young scouts to Germany for the third Sunday of Advent and then distributed in that country. This year, no one was able to travel to Vienna because of the pandemic. For this reason, the Light of Peace was delivered at the border of both countries, from there, it was taken in several cars to the different parishes. This is how it arrived in Berlin, and in countries like the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland and most European countries. She even found her way to the United States.
The light also awaits us in front of the Original Shrine, to be taken to the homes of the people and thus be bearers of peace. Of course, it is not only about evoking peace, but also about becoming aware of our responsibility to work for it.
A light for politics
The visit to the capital of Germany and epicenter of its political activity, has become a long tradition. In addition to delivering the Light of Peace, the leaders take the opportunity for young Germans to talk with federal ministers, parliamentarians and state secretaries about the meaning of peace in politics. Now, the Light of Peace also shines in the Federal Ministry of Justice for Consumer Protection, Economy and Energy, Environment and Health. In previous years, this light was also given to three popes, many heads of state and political leaders. Additionally, this year there were many screen shots taken from Zoom, which made it possible to deliver it in digital form. But this does not mean that the message of the Light of Peace is any less effective.