If there is any activity that unites scouts all over the Europe, it’s most certainly The Peacelight of Bethlehem. Started in 1986 in Austria and soon taken over by austrian scouts, now is spreading throughout all Europe making great impact in Polish society.
Peacelight of Bethlehem is by far the most recognised scout event in Poland. It is what lets us show that The Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP) is and have always been one of those organizations that forms leaders of tommorow. It is what shows ZHP as a member of global scout movement.
International aspect of The Peacelight of Bethlehem is why ZHP is so keen on not only being a part of the relay, but also it’s active player. We take part in this event since 1991. Traditionally every year lantern is shared with ZHP’s delegation by scouts from Slovakia. No difference was this year. 1500 scouts from ZHP took part in „Peacelight Jamboree“ („Betlejemski Zlot“) organized in Tatra mountains to receive Light from Christmas Grotto. And on December 14th it finally happened. Scouts gathered in Svit (Slovakia) got long-awaited Bethlehem Peacelight and were able to distribute it to their cities and towns.
Sharing Peacelight with local communities is what members of The Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP) are looking forward to every single year. Visiting mayors of their local communities, delivering lanterns to churches, schools, offices is one of the greatest opportunities for them to show how huge impact scouts all over the world make to create a better world. But what make our hearts beat a little but faster, is always sharing the idea hidden behing the Peacelight with those who surely are forgotten, ill or disabled. Showing up in scout uniforms in hospitals with Bethlehem Light and sharing moments with people who do not have hope, lost their confidence or will to smile always is the most moving moment in this time of a year.
Sure, going to President, Prime Minister and to all ministries, talking about The Peacelight with journalists and appering in the prime time television – it all is great. But when the question „If the light you are giving me is THE LIGHT?“ is being asked, it is when loyalty to ourselves have to be considered. The fact is that people around us trust scouts and our aim is to let them trust us in the future. Power of the Peacelight is as strong as our will be to truthful. And peace – as the candle – easily can fade away. As scout, it is our responsibility to continously talk about peace and remind our communities that this peace that we not only cherrish, in some regions of the globe would bet the most valuable asset.
By Wojtek Puchacz, Department of Communications, National Office