While historically used as warning and communication signals, Britain for hundreds of years has traditionally lit beacons to celebrate royal weddings, coronations and jubilees. This latest celebration marked the first Diamond Jubilee since Queen Victoria’s was celebrated in 1897. The beacon has served as a symbol uniting peoples and nations around the globe in a gesture of celebration and respect.
Beginning with the island nation of Tonga, in the South Pacific, beacons on June 4 were lit across many time zones in current and former British Commonwealth nations and dependencies around the world. Queen Elizabeth II personally lit the final beacon outside of Buckingham Palace as the worldwide ceremony came to its close.
“‘We set out to have 2,012 beacons, which would have been the most ever for this type of occasion,’ said Mr [Bruno] Peek, who also organised the Golden Jubilee. ‘To have reached double that figure reflects the national and worldwide respect and affection for the queen and the desire to celebrate her 60-year reign,’” reported the London Daily Telegraph.
Over the past 60 years of her reign, the Queen has been a “beacon” of hope for millions around the globe who have loved and respected her for her patriotism and the steadfastness she has shown in her continual devotion to her nation and to the British Commonwealth peoples.
As the late Haile Selassie said in a speech honouring the Queen during her visit to Ethiopia on February 1, 1965, “She… serves as the symbol of indomitability in adversity, of courage when confronted by danger, of dignity and resolve when threatened with defeat, and of magnanimity and generosity in victory.” Those words, spoken nearly 50 years ago, still ring true today.
In today’s world, hope for the future seems to be a rare commodity. Just watch the television, read the newspapers, surf the Internet and follow the tweets. The economies of Europe, the United States—and even the once-strong United Kingdom—are on a downward spiral, while unrest and even anti-government riots cause disruption in other troubled nations all over the world. It seems that, for most people, the main source of hope is found in fond memories of the past. The climate is certainly not one of great hope for a brighter future. On the contrary, it seems that most people are struggling with enormous frustration and anxiety, wondering where all the present turbulence and uncertainty is headed.
Thankfully, today’s Christians know that Jesus Christ came proclaiming the very good news—the gospel—of the coming Kingdom of God. He brought a message of real hope for the future. It is a message of hope and of purpose for those whom He would call as lights to this world—in effect, as beacons of truth for all mankind (Matthew 5:14).
Real hope and purpose is not lost in our past—it is awaiting us in our future! More than 2,000 years ago, the biblical prophet Daniel wrote one of the most hopeful and encouraging passages in the Bible. God inspired Daniel to write about a bright future, when “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). God’s servants will be beacons of hope for millions whose lives they will change forever.
If you would like to learn more about this subject, please read our free booklet, The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like? You can read it online, download a copy, or request your own printed copy absolutely free! You will be amazed and encouraged by its true account describing how many thousands of beacons will soon be shining around the world—and mankind will be celebrating real hope and peace for all peoples!