A call to peace
When Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, as told in the Gospel of Luke, they covered approximately 80 miles. On Dec. 8, in memory of that journey, approximately 150 people made the shorter, 10-mile, trip between Nazareth and Bethlehem here in the Lehigh Valley. Called the Christmas Peace Pilgrimage, it's the 53rd time this group has made the trip, walking with simple star and peace signs. It's an annual reminder of the true meaning of Christmas - peace on earth.
This year's trek, which started at the Moravian Church in the Nazareth Circle at noon, slowly made its way along Route 191 and into Bethlehem, stopping at three churches along the way. It ended, as darkness fell, with Christmas carols at the Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem.
Although most participants were from the Lehigh Valley, they included people from the coal regions, Maryland and Ohio.
Some have been making this an annual expedition since the '70s. As Grant Stevenson explains, "Somebody's gotta' be for peace."
A sign at First Baptist Church, a rest stop along the way, refers everyone to Christ's message: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."