It's Christmas time.
Parents bundle up their children for another day of school before Christmas vacation starts in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut. There's shopping to do and errands to run before they pick them up. Then the worst imaginable scenario takes place.
A young man walks into Sandy Hook Elementary School and begins shooting. When the horror finally stops, 20 children and 6 adults have been shot and killed. 12 little girls and 8 little boys had their lives cut short.
This is just heartbreaking.
What can be said at a time like this? The experts will opine on why this happened. All I can say is, this was pure evil. The heartlessness and wickedness of this man that did the shooting is really unimaginable.
I know from personal experience that the pain of losing a child is a fate worse than death for a parent.
At times like this we must reflect on the essential message of Christmas, which is Immanuel has come. Immanuel means God is with us.
I know God is there, ready to bring His comfort to those grieving right now in Connecticut. I know He is here right now to bring comfort to all of us who are heartbroken to hear such news.
At times like this, we need perspective-an eternal perspective.
We need to remember this life on earth is not all there is. There is an afterlife where earthy wrongs are righted. There is a final judgment for this man and others like him that commit these heinous crimes, and they will have to face God.
There is also great safety for those beautiful children, who I believe are all in Heaven right now, resting in the arms of Jesus. No harm will come to them again. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14).
And there is comfort available to their parents, who are in the deepest valley of pain and grief right now. Yes, even at a time like this, there is hope. The hope is this: If that parent will put their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord they can have the assurance they will see their dear children again.
As King David said when his child died, "I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me" (2 Samuel 12:23).
In the busyness of this season, I hope we all will take time to count our blessings. To let our children know that we love them and not take them for granted.
And I hope that we will remember that Jesus is there, Immanuel. He will bring His comfort to us as we trust in Him.