Reader Input: First, they must grieve amid support

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To the people of Newtown, Conn.:

The world extends its thoughts and prayers to your city and mourns the loss of the most precious gift parents give to the world. There are no words expressed today, or maybe even in the weeks to come, that will ease the pain and suffering of this tragedy nor eradicate the intensity of this experience.
It is too soon to speak of getting on with your lives, of putting the past behind or even of healing. It is time only to grieve and sit with one another in loving support as friends and family who will do their best to console, while holding tenaciously to the memory and special blessing of the teachers and children who were lost to your community.
This season celebrates the life of a child and a season of light. It may seem incongruous that this time of religious celebration has anything to say about the real-life experience of Sandy Hook. But you may want to consider a sentence from the Gospel of Luke. When angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, the account says the shepherds were very afraid.
And the angels’ response was simply, “Do not be afraid!” When the time comes for the community of Newtown, they will hear in their hearts a message from their first grade angels and their guardians that says, Don’t be afraid:
To play again,
To laugh again,
To celebrate again,
To dream again,
To allow your light to shine as a beacon of love, forgiveness and courage to the world,
To remember us as a gift that continues to guide and bless you all.
When this message is received by each person, in his or her own time, then the healing will begin.
The world has you wrapped in love and peace; come back to us when you are ready.
Pat Westerhouse, Lincoln