Recently, the Ozark Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America brought a unique gift to the Joplin community as they followed a long-held tradition of sharing the Peace Light with others. Now, the City of Joplin wants to share the light with our citizens and churches as we celebrate the holiday season.
For over one-thousand years, lamps have been continuously lit in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel. Twenty-two years ago another tradition began. A child from Upper Austria has lit two miners’ lamps from a Grotto lamp at the Nativity. These lamps are then transported from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Vienna, Austria, where the Peace Light is distributed at a special Service of Dedication to delegates from across Europe who then returns home with the light and a message of Peace.
Since 2004, Austrian Airlines has flown miners lamps containing the Peace light from Vienna to New York City where Scout Leaders light their lanterns and spread out across the United States and Canada to share the Peace Light.
In bringing the Peace Light to Joplin, Dean Ertel, Ozark Trails Council Scout Executive, noted the devastation and loss that Joplin has faced due to the tornado, stating, “It is our wish that during this Christmas season, the Peace Light becomes another step in the rebuilding of Joplin. The light is a symbol of peace, and for Joplin it is also a symbol of hope and strength for the community.”
The Peace Light is available for distribution to others at Fire Station #1, located at 303 East 3rd Street, until 6 p.m. December 24, Christmas Eve.