ideas and promises that Christmas originally represented were never more relevant to society and are gifts that we all may receive now.
Christmas is celebrated in various ways by people, but to Christians, Christmas first and foremost celebrates the birth of Christ Jesus. One of the lessons Jesus taught was "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." It may be humanly impossible to conceive of how families that have lost loved ones in this, or any of the other tragic shootings of the past, could be comforted, but that is not our task. We have Jesus's assurance that our Father, God, will provide comfort. When we remember that God is the all-powerful, all-wise creator of the universe, we know that no sadness is too profound for God to handle.
Christmas represents the appearance of the Christ to humanity. From this appearance we learned of the eternality of life and the resurrecting power of the Christ. Evil may seem to bring a human life to an untimely end, but we have Christ's promise that life is eternal and death only a temporary seeming. Jesus demonstrated this in his own experience. Like the innocent school children, this benevolent, wholly good man's life was cut short when he was brutally murdered in a sensational, public event. The final outcome in Jesus's case was resurrection, triumph, and glory, and that will be the final outcome for all others as well.
Jesus also taught us how to respond to those that perpetrate these crimes - with forgiveness. As he was being captured for what he knew would be his execution, he healed the injured ear of one of his captors and even in his final agony he said "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Forgiveness of those that have done such wicked acts may seem humanly impossible, but forgiveness is not something that we force ourselves to do. Forgiveness comes naturally when we recognize the Christian promise that nothing can separate us, or anyone, "from the love of Christ".
Finally, Jesus left us instructions on how to take meaningful action to defend ourselves and prevent further outbreaks of evil: "Love one another" and "Watch and pray", he said. Loving others will promote an atmosphere where hate cannot breed and develop. Until this loving atmosphere becomes thoroughly pervasive, the directive to "watch and pray" directs us to not merely seek God's help (pray), but to "watch" - be actively alert to evil and exercise responsibility for taking the steps (human and spiritual) necessary to protect against it.
Our prayerful acknowledgement, acceptance, and use of these "Christmas gifts" will not only bring us comfort, but can help everyone to experience their blessings. The true spirit of Christmas can bless us all!