Six-year-old Olivia Engel was to have been an angel in a live nativity performed at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn. last Friday, Dec. 14.
Instead, Olivia was one of the 20 first grade students who died at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. that day.
St. Rose Pastor Robert Weiss stated, "She was supposed to be an angel in the play. Now she's an angel up in Heaven."
Sixteen of the victims of Adam Lanza's murder spree were just 6 years old. The other four students were only 7 years old. According to reports, he shot the students at close range, multiple times.
We can't imagine the fear those helpless youngsters experienced, watching their classmates get shot and awaiting their turn with nowhere to turn; nobody to save them.
Tuesday is Christmas. It's a season of love, of peace, of forgiveness.
Most of us think of Heaven at Christmas. And angels. And especially Jesus.
We're sure that we'll also be thinking, with heavy hearts, about Sandy Hook and those parents and grandparents who won't have their children with them at what should be "the most wonderful time" because of Adam Lanza.
Everybody has his or her own interpretation of Heaven and Hell.
Suppose Adam Lanza, after taking his own life, comes face-to-face with Jesus? What would Jesus say to him?
I posed this question to three different pastors. They had a hard time coming up with an immediate answer.
Jesus forgives. Does that mean Adam Lanza would be spared from Hell despite such a horrible deed he's done? If so, does that mean anyone can be excluded from Hell no matter how evil?
Would Jesus ask him why he went on such a murderous rampage?
Would Jesus accept him in Heaven, the same Heaven where - many of us believe - Olivia, her classmates, her principal, her teachers now exist?
What would Jesus say to Adam Lanza?
Of course, we're mere mortals so we have no idea how to answer this. We don't know how the conversation would go with Jesus and Adam Lanza.
Even in the day of Jesus, there was evil. In fact, the New Testament says that when Jesus was born, there was a king, Herod, who slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under. What was Herod's fate in the here-after?
What we observe most at Christmas is the birth of the Christ child. Naturally, this mingles in households with the commercial aspect of the holiday.
I'll be celebrating Christmas with my grandsons, ages 4 and 7. The older one is the same age as many of those children killed in Conn. I guess that's part of the reason why the Connecticut incident so impacted me. Youngsters those ages have so much love, innocence, and kindness. They bring so much joy not only at Christmas, but year-round.
What happened at Sandy Hook could have happened at any school in America. None of the parents knew, when they sent those 20 children to school that morning, that it would be the last time they would see them alive.
Adam Lanza was a coward. He knew the children he killed were defenseless. According to reports, once he heard sirens, which warned him of the arrival of police officers, he immediately took his own life. He wasn't going to face judgment. Not here on earth, any way.
Will he have judgment if he faces Jesus?
Surely Jesus must be sad at what he saw.
Will Jesus be angry? Will He be forgiving?
Jesus is quoted as saying in the Book of Luke, "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."
If Adam Lanza and Jesus met, what would Jesus say?