New King James Version (NKJV)
Mercy on Ephraim
15 Thus says the Lord:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
New International Version (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The heart wrenching funerals began today for the Sandy Hook shooting victims. We shall mourn with those who mourn, but not without hope. Christmas, if anything, should remind us of the hope that once slept in the manger and rose from the grave. He is Emmanuel, God With Us, the ransom for sinners, who ended our exile from God. The separation, began in the Garden of Eden and paid for at the cross, ended with our Lord's victory over death. He, who is ever for us, will never leave us or forsake us.
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" - Enya