Monday, December 24

'Twas 11 Days Before Christmas

Twas eleven days before Christmas
Around nine-thirty eight
When 20 beautiful children
stormed heaven's gate

Their smiles were contagious
Laughter filled the air
Could hardly believe the beauty
that everyone saw there

They were filled with such joy
They didn't know what to say
Remembered nothing  that happened
earlier that day

"Where are we?" asked a little girl
As quiet as a mouse
"This is heaven" said a boy
"We're spending Christmas in God's  house!

When what to their wondering eyes did appear
But Jesus, their  Savior,
The children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled
They smiled just the same
Then He opened his arms and called them each by name

And in that moment of joy
Only heaven can bring
Those children flew
Into the arms of their King

And as they lingered there
In the warmth of His embrace
A small girl turned  and
Looked into His face

As if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered,
"I'll take care of Mom and Dad"

Then He looked down to earth
To the world far below
He saw all the hurt, the sorrow, the woe.

He closed His eyes and outstretched His hand,
"Let my Power and Presence re-enter this land"

"May this country be delivered
from the hands of fools
I'm taking back the nation
I'm taking back the schools"

Then He gathered them all
Without making a sound
"Come now my children
I'll show you around"

Excitement filled the air
Some skipped and some ran
Displaying enthusiasm
only a small child can.

And I heard Him proclaim
as He walked out of sight
“In all this darkness
Ana Grace Marquez-Greene died in the shootings while her older brother Isaiah, also at the school, escaped harm. She is the daughter of jazz musician and teacher Jimmy Greene, 37, and his wife Nelba Marquez Greene.
"She never walked anywhere," the family said in a statement Sunday evening. "Her mode of transportation was dance."<br><br>-- <i>Donna Larcen, Owen McNally, Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View Ana Marquez-Greene's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>
Emilie Parker was a "bright," avid artist who acted as a mentor to her 3- and 4-year-old sisters, her father, Robbie Parker, recalled Saturday.
"Emily's laughter was infectious and all those who met her would agree this world is a better place because she has been in it," Parker, 30, told reporters in Newtown. "She was beautiful; she was blond, always smiling. She was the type of person that could just light up a room."
Emilie taught her younger sisters to read, dance and "find the simple joys of life," Parker said. Her siblings looked up to her and leaned on her for comfort.<br><br>-- <i>Jenna Carlesso</i><br><br><a href="">View Emilie Parker's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

 On the "Friends of the Engel Family Fund" Facebook page, there were photos of Olivia Rose Engel, 6, sitting behind the steering wheel of a boat with sunglasses, smiling. Another showed her wearing a set of wings, holding a golden star over her head.
Friends and family members said Olivia was a wonderful big sister to her 3 1/2-year-old brother, loved school and was looking forward to a full week of Christmas crafts. The energetic girl took ballet and music lessons, loved to play with the family dog, Petey, liked pink and purple and was active in the St. Rose of Lima Church in town ¿ where she was to be an angel in the Nativity play that had been scheduled for Saturday night.<br><br> --<i>Kenneth R. Gosselin</i><br><br><a href="">View Olivia Engel's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>
<a href="">View Avielle Richman's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Caroline Previdi once went by the nickname "Boo" because she looked like the girl character in the movie "Monsters, Inc.," said one family friend, who declined to be named.
"She was a total sweetheart. She was adorable," the family friend said.
Another friend who lives in the Newtown area said Caroline loved gymnastics. "She was a spunky little girl. She had fire to her," the woman said.<br><br> -- <i>Brian Dowling, Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Caroline Pevidi's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Catherine Violet Hubbard was described as having a passion for animals and in an obituary that was released on Sunday her family asked that donations in her memory be made to the Newtown Animal Shelter.<br><br>-- <i>Ken Byron</i><br><br><a href="">View Catherine Hubbard's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Charlotte Bacon, who would have turned 7 in February, was anything but shy.
She was smart, outgoing, precocious and persistent, said her uncle, John Hagen, of Minneapolis.
"She had a big personality. She could carry on a conversation with any adult. She challenged my sister every day. She knew how to get what she wanted."

Case in point: Charlotte's mother, Joann, bought her a pink dress and white boots for the holidays. Charlotte had been begging to wear her new outfit early. On the last day of Charlotte's life, her mom finally gave in.<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Charlotte Bacon's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Chase Kowalski loved to be outside riding his bicycle, running or playing baseball, according to his family and neighbors.
He competed in his first triathlon at age 6, according to his obituary. He was a Cub Scout, and was a "fun loving energetic boy that had a true love of life."<br><br>-- <i>Shawn Beals</i><br><br><a href="">View Chase Kowalski's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Daniel Barden, 7, was a first-grader and beloved youngest son of a doting mother and father, according to friends and neighbors.
His parents tried to keep their children active, shuttling Daniel off to swim practice and other activities.
"This is warm, loving family," said a co-worker of Daniel's mother, Jackie Barden. "The kids were the type of kids parents want their children to be around: warm and wonderful and caring and kind. This is heartbreaking."
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Daniel Barden's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

First-grader Noah Pozner attended Sandy Hook Elementary with his twin sister, Arielle, and an older sister, Sophia, 8.
Noah was a "rambunctious little maverick" who was "smart as a whip," said his mother, Veronique, speaking through a relative. He loved his family, his parents, his siblings and especially his twin, she said.
"He called her his best friend," she said.
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Noah Pozner's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Josephine Gay celebrated her seventh birthday on Tuesday.
In a photo circulating on the internet, Josephine peeked out from under a green, toy traffic cone, smiling with her glasses perched on the tip of her nose.<br><br>-- <i>Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View Josephine Gay's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Dylan Hockley smiles online in a series of family photos. He's Shrek, his mom writes. Or he's "Super Dylan" - posed in a Superman outfit. In other images, he poses with his brother, Jake.<br><br>-- <i>Ken Byron</i><br><br>
<a href="">View Dylan Hockley's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>
Chris, Lynn and Jack McDonnell, the parents and older brother of Grace McDonnell, sent in a short statement to The Washington Post: "We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from so many people. Our daughter Grace was the love and light of our family. Words cannot adequately express our sense of loss."
The Werdens, who live across the street from the McDonnell's, shared a school bus stop. 
Todd Werden described Grace as "a real cute little blonde girl with blue eyes ¿ a real little doll."
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br>
<a href="">View Grace McDonnell's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

James Mattioli, known to many simply as "J," was a smart, active boy who looked up to -- and like -- his father, played sports and loved food, an obituary posted online through a Monroe funeral home said.
"I need to go outside, Mom. I need fresh air," the family recalled James saying often. He loved baseball, basketball swimming and arm wrestling. He and his cousin George played hockey together.
The 6-year-old "proudly" rode his bike without training wheels, his family said.
<br><br>-- <i>Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View James Mattioli's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Kevin Samoskevich works in construction in Shelton and he often ran into Neil Heslin, a fellow building contractor, at the Dew Drop Donut shop in town. They'd exchange pleasantries over coffee and talk about available construction work. Heslin's son, Jesse Lewis, a happy 6 year old, was always beside him.
"He was a happy child," Samoskevich said. "A typical boy who was always in and out of things," on the job sites.<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Jesse Lewis' obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Jack was a Giants fan and a wrestler.
"Jack was an incredibly loving and vivacious young boy, appreciated by all who knew him for his lively and giving spirit and steely determination," read an obituary for Jack on The Newtown Bee's website. "In life and in death, Jack will forever be remembered for the immeasurable joy he brought to all who had the pleasure of knowing him, a joy whose wide reach belied his six short years"<br><br>-- <i>Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View Jack Pinto's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Jessica was the Rekos's first born and they said she enjoyed being the big sister to her two little brothers, Travis and Shane. Jessica loved doing research on Orca whales, one of her passions after seeing the movie "Free Willy" last year. In October, she got a chance to visit Sea World and see a live Orca. She spent time, her family said, writing in her journals and making up stories.
Jessica, her family said, "started our family, and she was our rock."
-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Jessica Rekos' obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Benjamin Wheeler was "a very spirited boy," said Rabbi Shaul Praver of Adath Israel in Newtown. He and his parents, David and Francine Wheeler, were not members of the synagogue, but they attended its Hanukkah celebration.
-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br>

<a href="">View Benjamin Wheeler's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Madeleine F. Hsu was among the youngest victims in Newtown. She had just turned six in July, meaning just five victims were born after her.
"She was a sweet, beautiful little girl," Karen Dryer, a neighbor of the Hsu family, told the Wall Street Journal.
Dryer described Hsu as a "very upbeat and kind" girl who favored bright dresses.
Several people offered their condolences to Hsu's family. A commenter named Christen posted to the account on Saturday night, calling Hsu "a beautiful little soul who was very loved, full of life and I know will be missed dearly by all who knew her."
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Madeleine Hsu's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Allison Wyatt was a six-year-old student of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.<br>
Kate Capellaro of All for Kids in Ridgefield last saw Allison over the summer and described her to the New Haven Register: "She was a very shy girl, she was quiet and kept to herself, but she would smile at things. If a kid did something funny, she'd be laughing."<br>
Messages on a Facebook tribute for Allison read "Our prayers go out to you and your family," and "Rest in Peace and look over those who love you."<br>
<a href="">View Allison Wyatt's obituary and leave condolences</a>

Forever in our hearts and prayers.

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